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30 November, 2022
 
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Cyprus calls on Turkey-bound ship to rescue refugees

Authorities call on ultra-max bulk carrier to pick up irregular migrants off Cyprus, cite weather conditions in the area

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Cypriot authorities say weather conditions did not allow some 300 refugees stranded at sea to be transported to the island, with officials calling on another ship nearby that picked up everyone on board and took them to Turkey.

According to local media, the Cyprus Joint Rescue Coordination Center on Monday received a distress signal from a vessel some 110 nautical miles west of Paphos.

A Cypriot helicopter, which flew to the area to evaluate the situation, reportedly hovered over the boat and alerted headquarters in Larnaca according to JRCC commander Andreas Charalambides.

Cargo ship Paolo Topic, which was en route to Turkey and responded to the distress call, picked up the irregular migrants but sailed to its original destination instead of detouring to Limassol

Charalambides told state radio on Tuesday morning that the 60-foot wooden boat had sent out a distress signal Monday afternoon after experiencing engine trouble.

The official said in addition to the helicopter and another coast guard vessel, two Greek navy ships were also scrambled. But after visual contact with the boat, JRCC looked at other vessels in the vicinity to call to the rescue.

“Due to the size of the boat and weather conditions, we issued an alert to other vessels in the vicinity,” Charalambides said.

Local media said cargo ship Paolo Topic, an ultra-max bulk carrier which was en route to Turkey and responded to the distress call, picked up the irregular migrants but sailed to its original destination instead of detouring to Limassol.

Additional reports said the wooden boat, which was carrying many women and children amongst hundreds of passengers, had left Lebanon for Italy three days earlier.

Hours after the initial rescue, another similar boat carrying a large number of irregular migrants was spotted around 10:20pm, some 30 nautical miles off Larnaca.

Reports said a total of 177 presumptive refugees, including 67 women and children, have been rescued by Cypriot authorities.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Paphos  |  stranded at sea  |  refugee  |  migration  |  rescue  |  JRCC  |  Paolo Topic  |  Turkey  |  helicopter  |  coast guard  |  Greek navy

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