Greece is seeking to send migrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh that reached the country aboard a Turkish-flagged cargo ship back to their countries, Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis said Monday.
“Those who are not entitled to international protection will be returned,” Mitarakis told Open TV, adding that he would be contacting the two countries’ embassies over the matter.
Sources inside the Migration Ministry said that of the 375 passengers transferred to the reception and identification center on the Dodecanese island of Kos, 250 are Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals. According to the same sources, 112 people come from Afghanistan.
Mitarakis said the ministry has asked experts from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to confirm the status of 140 passengers who claim to be underage.
The vessel sent a distress signal near the island of Crete Friday, with the coast guard quoting passengers as saying it had sailed from Turkey.