42 migrants rescued by the Hellenic Coast Guard and Navy off the coast of Crete

42 migrants have been rescued by the Hellenic Coast Guard off the coast of southern Crete earlier today while a search and rescue operation is underway for 3 missing individuals.

A boat carrying a total of 45 illegal migrants contacted the Italian search and rescue centre to request assistance and the Italian authorities subsequently alerted their Greek counterparts.

40 migrants were initially rescued by the Malta-flagged tanker, “PGC ARATO”, at about 27 nautical miles south of Crete and the Dutch-flagged cargo ship, “MANISA EMY” and transferred to the port city of Palaeochora. An additional 2 were also rescued by the Hellenic Navy. 3 migrants suffering from hypothermia were treated at the St George General Hospital at Chania.

Indeed, as the ships’ route on Marine Traffic shows, “PGC Arato” anchored off the coastal town of Palaiochora where the Hellenic Coast Guard reported that it received 39 migrants, in addition to the two rescued by the Hellenic Navy.

Courtesy of Marine Traffic

Two men identified to be in charge of the smuggling operation were arrested by the coastguard and are expected to face charges of migrant smuggling and illegal entry into the country.

Following their identification and treatment, the rescued migrants will be transferred to shelters and hotspot centres on the Greek mainland.