Romania coast guard rescues 157 migrants from Black Sea
ROMANIA’S coast guard rescued more than 150 migrants from Iraq and Iran from a ship in distress on the Black Sea, on what is becoming a new route for migrants trying to reach Western Europe. The rusty ship was towed to the Black Sea port of Constanta, before dawn yesterday. Migrants are increasingly trying to cross the Black Sea from Turkey to reach Romania. Last weekend, coast guard forces from Romania and Bulgaria intercepted 217 migrants on the Black Sea in two boats who were suspected of trying to enter Romania. Krzysztof Borowski, a spokesman for the EU’s border agency, Frontex, told the AP, that “smugglers are testing this route with the Black Sea,” and that it was “an attempt to revive the route.” In 2014, he said some 430 migrants used the route, but that fell the following year to 68 and just one in 2016.
Over the weekend, Turkish authorities stopped 313 migrants on the Black Sea attempting to reach Balkan countries. Any new influx of migrants through the Black Sea could further exacerbate political strains within the EU over the issue.