More patrols to curb migrants

Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis yesterday asked the country’s coast guard chief to boost patrols of Greek shores in the Aegean after more than 100 illegal immigrants were intercepted in just a few days. Voulgarakis issued the order after coast guard officials on Lesvos, Leros and Farmakonisi detained 115 would-be migrants over the Orthodox Easter weekend. All the migrants claimed to have reached Greek territory by boat from neighboring Turkey. Another 22 immigrants were stopped on Lesvos and Kos yesterday and 15 more on Farmakonisi, together with their suspected smuggler, a Turkish national. According to ministry statistics made public yesterday, a total of 20,134 immigrants and 690 people smugglers have entered the country illegally since 2004.