Hundreds of migrants have been discovered aboard a luxury yacht near the Greek island of Lesbos after paying the equivalent of up to $2,500 each to travel to Europe.
The vessel, which has an official capacity of just 65, was carrying 345 Syrians when Greek authorities intercepted it. The 100ft boat would cost around $1 million if it were bought new, making it the most expensive vessel to date to smuggle migrants into Europe, a coastguard source said.
News site Altsantiri says the migrants would have shelled out $2,500 each for the trip from Turkey, thus earning people smugglers more than $800,000 for the voyage.
Greece is one of the main entry points for migrants trying to travel through Europe. Last month, the country saw a record 48,000 migrants arrive on its shores in the space of just five days.
The number of arrivals peaked on 20 October when 11,000 people landed on Greek islands after being smuggled across the Mediterranean, mainly from Turkey.
The International Organisation for Migration said the influx came despite deteriorating weather conditions as winter sets in. Normally, the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean dips sharply as summer comes to an end, but these latest figures far exceeded this year’s summer high.
In September, Breitbart London reported how Lesbos is being turned into a war zone as migrant crime sky rockets on the island.
One local woman said: “We are in danger, every day, every minute. We need someone to protect us. They come into our houses. I want to go to work, but I can’t. Our children want to go to school, but they can’t. They have stolen our lives!”
The mayor of Mytilene, the main town on the island, called for the European Union to intervene.
“This is a ticking time bomb that will go off soon. We have managed to avert some catastrophes, but we need help, more ferries. This island is so small, we can’t solve a worldwide humanitarian crisis by ourselves. The European Union needs to act.”