Refugees News 2015: Greek Coast Guard ‘Destroys Boat Full Of Refugees’

Video footage which allegedly shows a Greek coast guard deliberately sinking a life raft full of refugees has sparked concern for the refugees and criticism against the Greek Coast Guard.

The video, which was reportedly recorded on November 12, shows a crewman on a Greek-marked guard ship jabbing a sharp pole into an inflatable boat carrying 58 passengers. As the people onboard the raft begin to scream in terror as their vessel slowly sinks, the Greek ship, meanwhile, appears to simply sail away.

Later, a Turkish boat arrives and pulls the refugees out of the water. They were eventually taken to the Turkish port city of Didim.

The disturbing footage was said to be released by the Turkish government. An official claimed they had shown it to the head of the Hellenic coast guard earlier in the week, requesting them to stop.

In a response to the allegations made by Turkish authorities, the Greek Coast Guard released a statement:

1. The Hellenic Coastguard categorically denies the articles in the foreign press, as well as the doctored audiovisual material on a foreign website, according to which a Hellenic Coastguard vessel allegedly tried to sink a boat carrying refugees. Moreover, we obviously deny any effort by members of the crew to draw near to their large vessel a small inflatable craft by using a nautical hook (that is, a tool used in accordance with international shipping technique and practices for this purpose) while a nearby Turkish coastguard vessel assisted the rescue operation by lighting and facilitating all of the actions with a spotlight.

2. We believe it to be at the very least contradictory to allege that the Hellenic Coastguard supposedly follows such practices, which are incompatible with the values of our culture and which are condemnable at a time when the Hellenic Coastguard, from early 2015 until today, has saved some 90,000 refugees from the sea in Search and Rescue operations.

3. We also categorically deny that there was an exchange of relevant dialogue between the Heads of the Coastguards of Greece and Turkey, as presented in articles in Turkish press.

Refugees News 2015

Footage shows a crewman trying to sabotage the refugee lifeboat. (Screen grab from Metro.co.uk.)

“The Turkish coast guard regularly films its rescue operations, and has previously shared footage with international media,” said a Turkish government official to Middle East Eye. “But this is shocking. We expect that this footage will be investigated — it’s difficult for us to understand why they would try to sink a refugee boat.”

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Regina is a Fine Arts graduate who expresses herself through various mediums. She finds amusement in pop culture, enjoys video games, and watches way too many YouTube videos on a daily basis.