Migrant vessel issues distress signal off Elafonissos

Coast Guard vessels were dispatched to rescue dozens of would-be migrants from a sailing boat off the island of Elafonissos in the southeastern Peloponnese on Friday morning.

The Coast Guard took action after the vessel issued a distress signal early in the morning.

Some 150 would-be migrants were believed to be aboard the boat but noone was thought to be in life-threatening danger, Skai understands.

On Thursday, Citizens Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis announced that the first of a series of detention centers for undocumented migrants would start operating in Amygdaleza, northwest of Athens, by the end of the month. The scheme has prompted the vehement opposition of local residents.

According to European Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, some 310 million euros in funding has been made available to Greece to combat illegal immigration but absorption remains a problem.