Agathonisi gets patrol boat but woes persist

Authorities on the tiny Aegean island of Agathonisi, which has been overwhelmed by illegal immigrants, yesterday welcomed news that a coast guard vessel had been dispatched to patrol their shores but complained that their efforts to transfer the migrants to reception centers were being hindered. Evangelos Kottoros, Agathonisi’s community leader, welcomed the ministry’s initiative to dispatch a patrol vessel with a 26-member crew to his island. He also expressed satisfaction at reports regarding the drafting of a presidential decree which foresees the creation of a local coast guard facility. However, he said efforts to transfer 96 migrants from Agathonisi to reception centers were being blocked by authorities on Patmos who fear the migrants will end up there. Agathonisi residents have given food and aid to some migrants but the remainder are homeless and hungry.