At Least 18 More Migrants Drown After Shipwreck Off Turkish Coast

Turkish coast

During the night from Friday to Saturday a ship transporting migrants capsized in the Aegean Sea off the Turkish coast, leaving at least 18 dead and 14 survivors.

Turkish media reports note that the death toll is provisional and there could yet be more victims. The cause of the wreck is unknown, but it occurred sometime during the night near the Turkish coast. The vessel was headed for the Greek island of Kalymnos.

The Turkish Coast Guard was able to rescue 14 migrants from Syria, Iraq and Pakistan who were attempting to cross the Aegean from Turkey into Europe. The survivors of the latest sea tragedy were hospitalized in a state of hypothermia, and they have been reported in “serious” condition by health officials.

According to a first reconstruction of events worked out from their testimony, the migrants set sail from the Turkish seaside resort of Bodrum, in the southeast of the country, on board an old boat that capsized two nautical miles from the Turkish coast.

This shipwreck was just the latest of three such sea disasters in the last day and a half.

On Friday, four Syrian children and one adult were also drowned when their boat sank. They were heading from Turkey to the Greek island of Farmakonisi.

Another boat sank in the Bay of Bodrum Friday while trying to reach the Greek island of Kos. These Greek islands are closer to Turkey than to Greece and represent an attractive destination for migrants seeking to enter the EU.

According to figures released by UNICEF on December 2, at least 185 children have died in shipwrecks in the Aegean Sea this year along the route between Turkey and Greece.

The number of migrants and refugees arriving in Europe by land or sea will pass the one million mark in the next few days, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

IOM spokesman Joel Millman said that the total number of migrants entering the EU will be at least four times greater than in 2014.

From October 16 to date there have been 442 migrant deaths in the sea, or an average of 7 per day, Millman said, a situation he described as “very alarming.”

Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome


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