Thursday September 21, 2023

Left to die by Greek coastguards: Pakistani survivors

The ship sank because one-maund-rope was thrown into the ship, say survivors

By News Desk
June 20, 2023
Footage of the migrant boat hours before it capsized(L) and two Pakistani survivors of the incident — Twitter/@YasirQadhi
Footage of the migrant boat hours before it capsized(L) and two Pakistani survivors of the incident — Twitter/@YasirQadhi

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani survivors on the ill-fated boat that capsised off the Greece coast have blamed Greek coastguards for the incident, saying the ship — carrying hundreds of people — was deliberately sunk and no rescue was provided, reports Geo News.

The video account of the victims exposed the inhuman attitude of Greece authorities in the last hours leading to the tragedy.

Authorities in Europe still have no clear idea how many people were aboard the boat when it sank — estimates range from 400 to over 700 — but likely hundreds came from Pakistan, and many from Azad Jammu Kashmir.

The accounts of two Pakistani survivors emerged days after the tragic incident.

“They have done this [on purpose]. They have sunk it themselves,” one of the survivors said, while the other added that they had been still for five days and six nights before the ship sunk “in a minute”.

“We did not sink for five days […] so why would we sink now?”

They recounted that the ship’s engine had broken down, leaving them adrift still for almost a week.

“We did not drown even though our engine had [completely] shut down. On the sixth night, around 2:30am [… ] I checked the time; it was 2:15am. Around 10 minutes later, this incident occurred,” one of them said, adding, “It [the boat] sunk because of the one-maund-rope they threw into the boat.”

They further alleged that they did not help despite the presence of two-speed boats, one cargo boat and one receiving ship at the location.

This statement endorsed an independent investigation reported by BBC that poked holes in the Greece authorities’ account of the incident.

An analysis of the movement of other ships in the area suggests that the boat remained stationary for at least seven hours before drowning.

Although the Greek authorities did not respond to BBC’s findings, they have insisted that the boat was on course to Italy and did not need rescuing.

EU’s border force Frontex said it first spotted the ship at around 8GMT and informed Greek authorities.

Alarm Phone, an emergency hotline for migrants in trouble at sea, said they received a call at 12:17 GMT saying the boat was in distress.