77 migrants on N. Korean ship

Coast guards off the southern Peloponnese on Saturday stopped a North Korean-flagged freighter carrying scores of illegal immigrants to Greece, and arrested the captain and his crew. The 60-meter Rex was located on Saturday evening off the coast of Methoni, between the islets of Sapientza and Schiza, and was stopped for an inspection. According to a Merchant Marine Ministry announcement, the Georgian captain told officers he was carrying 77 illegal immigrants – 64 Egyptians, nine Indians and four Pakistanis – in the hold and had been planning to leave them on the coast of the Peloponnese. The captain and his four Ukrainian crewmen will be charged with people-smuggling, while the freighter was impounded. During the operation, officers saw a small speedboat trying to escape in the dark and gave chase. Yesterday, the craft was found beached near Kardamyli on the Mani peninsula, while the steersman managed to escape. The two illegal migrants it was carrying were found and arrested.

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