Coast guard rescues 291 in Euboean Gulf

Coast guard authorities in the Euboean Gulf on Saturday spotted a Turkish trawler crammed with illegal immigrants, and despite a storm with winds reaching 9 on the Beaufort Scale, coast guard patrol boats shepherded the vessel to the port of Rafina in eastern Attica, the Merchant Marine Ministry announced. The 291 migrants, mostly Kurds, were being sheltered and fed in Rafina’s indoor arena. The Hilmi Dede, registered in Istanbul, was carrying 291 illegal immigrants and three crew members. The captain, Engin Kan, 31, was arrested on Saturday and his 35-meter ship confiscated. Another two crew members, Pasa Kruka, 49, and Mustafa Cafat, 25, were arrested yesterday, the ministry said. It was not clear whether the last two were trying to appear as part of the group of migrants. The captain admitted that the vessel had sailed from Izmir for Greece. He said it was carrying 270 people. The 257 men, 26 women and 8 children were examined by doctors on Saturday. First aid was provided to those showing signs of exhaustion from their ordeal on the boat.Last week, a major rescue operation saved 246 people in a ship south of Crete.

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