Migrant rescue operation obstructed by Turkish vessels, sources say

Migrant rescue operation obstructed by Turkish vessels, sources say

Turkish coast guard vessels harassed Greek boats and a helicopter taking part in a migrant rescue operation in the sea west of the small island of Halki near Rhodes, Kathimerini has learned.

According to Greek coast guard sources, the Joint Search and Rescue Coordination Center in Piraeus sent an emergency signal to their counterparts in Ankara after two Turkish coast guard patrol boats (SG 101, SG 302) allegedly obstructed the rescue operation late Tuesday.

The crew on one of the Turkish vessels used lighting and laser equipment to obscure the vision of a Greek Super Puma helicopter as it prepared to lift an injured man from the deck of the Hong Kong-flagged Ocean Ang cargo ship that was taking part in the rescue operation, the same sources said.

The sources said the Turkish coast guard also forced the captain of the Maltese-flagged Alexandra A cargo ship taking part in the rescue operation to hand over 19 migrants picked up from the sea.

A total of 96 people were rescued from the sea 21 nautical miles west of Halki, the coast guard said Wednesday morning. According to reports, two migrants are believed to be missing.

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