A total of 75 undocumented migrants from Syria reached the Republic of Cyprus on Monday, after a Cypriot coast guard vessel escorted their wooden boat to Cape Greco.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, marine police said they spotted on radar a wooden boat at sea, east of Cape Greco, on Monday afternoon around 2:40pm.
Later at night, around 10pm, the vessel was pulled to safety at a fishing pier used by the coast guard at Golden Coast in Protaras.
A man who appeared to be the captain of the vessel was detained on charges of human smuggling and illegal entry
CNA reported there were 51 men, 10 women, and 14 children on board including three unaccompanied minors, with the refugees telling officers they started their journey in Tartus, a Mediterranean coastal town in Syria.
The refugees were then bussed to Kofinou reception center in Larnaca district, where they were expected to remain in quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Police told Knews that a man among the boat passengers, a 39-year-old Syrian man who appeared to be the captain of the vessel, was detained on a court warrant on charges of human smuggling and illegal entry.
The suspect was expected to appear before a district judge Tuesday morning for a remand hearing, with police telling Knews it was still unclear whether he was intending to seek asylum in the Republic of Cyprus.
European officials recently openly criticized the Cypriot government over a controversial pushback policy, with many groups and agencies accusing the Republic of violating law and international conventions.