An inflatable boat with twenty Syrian refugees on board arrived in Cyprus on Monday, following a two-day trip in the open sea that started in Lebanon.
Ten men, two women, and eight children were spotted at 9:32am in a GPS-equipped inflatable boat, drifting without a skipper off the coast south of Cape Greco, with Coast Guard officials coming to their rescue.
Reports said two families consisting of a father, mother and four children each, were on board, along with eight single males who also joined the trip. The passengers told authorities they bought a GPS device and an inflatable boat in Lebanon for a total of €1000 and set course for Cyprus on October 5.
The refugees were scheduled to be transported to Kokkinotrimithia Reception Centre after a preliminary police investigation. Cyprus News Agency (CNA) said they were all expected to seek asylum in the Republic of Cyprus.
Arrivals of Syrian refugees have been reported recently, as boatloads of presumptive asylum seekers reach either the northern or southern parts of the divided island, with most individuals ending up filing for asylum in the south.
Nicosia launched a campaign recently with diplomatic steps in the wake of what it describes as an “increasing trend” of refugee arrivals, saying that Cyprus is at the top among EU member states in terms of number of arrivals in proportion to the local population. Local officials say they expect other countries and EU member states to step in and host larger numbers of refugees.