More fer­ries to help take mi­grants from is­lands

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Author­i­ties are plan­ning to add more fer­ries to the route link­ing the is­lands of the eastern Aegean to the port of Pi­raeus and else­where on the main­land in a bid to ease pres­sure on the is­lands which are on the front line of an in­flux of mi­grants.

The mat­ter was dis­cussed yesterday dur­ing a meet­ing chaired by State Min­is­ter Alekos Flam­bouraris, who is co­or­di­nat­ing the gov­ern­ment’s re­sponse to the cri­sis.

The sit­u­a­tion re­mained par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult on two is­lands which are busy tourist re­sorts: Kos and Lesvos. Around 3,000 mi­grants were un­able to leave Lesvos yesterday, de­spite hav­ing un­der­gone po­lice iden­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­ce­dures, as there are no places on fer­ries. Lesvos Mayor Spy­ros Gali­nos told Kathimerini that he is in touch with Ship­ping Min­is­ter Theodoris Drit­sas to dis­cuss ad­di­tional ferry routes that will trans­fer mi­grants from the is­lands to the main­land. Yesterday a crowd of mi­grants wait­ing to be reg­is­tered out­side the coast guard of­fice in the main port of Lesvos broke into scuf­fles as some late­com­ers tried to push to the front of the line. The night be­fore there had been ten­sion as Iraqis protested while some 1,800 Syr­i­ans boarded a ferry to leave the is­land.

A Cit­i­zens’ Pro­tec­tion Min­istry of­fi­cial told Kathimerini that the gov­ern­ment aims to have a ferry serv­ing the route link­ing the is­lands to the main­land ev­ery two days. The iden­ti­fi­ca­tion process may be shifted from the is­lands to the immigration ser­vices in Athens and Thes­sa­loniki, he said.

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