Human traffickers are increasingly heading toward Italy rather than Greece following effective deterrence by the Hellenic Coast Guard off Lesvos, Samos and Chios, Kathimerini understands.
In recent months, 33 vessels set sail from Turkey for Italy, shifting from the central Aegean to a southern Aegean route. As a rule, the vessels are sailing boats with a capacity for more than 50 or 60 migrants.
The shift prompted the Italian Coast Guard to complain to Greek authorities, resulting in the transfer of one of the Hellenic Coast Guard’s largest open-sea vessels from Lesvos to the southeastern Aegean, to help intercept further attempts by traffickers to reach Italian shores.
Separately, plans by Greek authorities to press ahead with plans to create “closed” reception facilities for migrants on Lesvos and Chios, following coronavirus outbreaks in camps, continue to face the opposition of local residents.