Skip to main content
International

BBC investigation ties Greek coast guard to dozens of migrant deaths at sea

Share

A new BBC report and documentary leveled allegations against Greek authorities in the Mediterranean. The report, released on Monday, June 17, documented allegations ranging from masked men abducting and throwing migrants into the sea, to Greek authorities forcing asylum-seekers and their children into open waters on ill-fated rafts, according to first-hand witness accounts.

Media Landscape

See who else is reporting on this story and which side of the political spectrum they lean. To read other sources, click on the plus signs below.

Learn more about this data

Left 52%

Center 21%

Right 28%

Bias Distribution Powered by Ground News

In total, the report outlined 43 deaths attributed to the Greek authorities. It accused Greek authorities of killing people through negligence and murder.

The documentary, named “Dead Calm: Killing in the Med?,” largely focuses on the migrant ship disaster off of the coast of Greece on June 18, 2023.

The film appears to allege negligence during rescue operations on the capsized ship with hundreds of migrants. More than 600 migrants drowned. First-hand accounts and court documents stated the vessel may have sunk after Greek special forces attempted to tow it outside of Greek waters.

QR code for SAN app download

Download the SAN app today to stay up-to-date with Unbiased. Straight Facts™.

Point phone camera here

Some asylum-seekers hold the traffickers who organized the ill-fated trip responsible but maintain Greek involvement in capsizing the vessel and abandoning the migrants at sea. Greek authorities disputed the accounts but also said that cameras on their ship were not working during the operation.

The allegations appear to be symbolic of a larger issue within Greek authorities’ handling of migrants. Human rights groups have long accused Greece of forcing thousands of refugees out, despite asylum rights being written into international and European Union law.

In another incident outlined in the BBC report, a Syrian refugee said that people on his boat called for help from the Greek coast guard after it stalled. He said the coast guard put him and others on a raft with a leaking valve.

The raft eventually sank and killed eight children, including the refugee’s. He said they cried out for help from Greek authorities but were ignored. The ship carried 85 people and the Turkish coast guard did not come to the migrants’ rescue until the next morning.

In a separate event, a BBC reporter showed a former Greek coast guard senior officer a video of a dozen people, including small children, being loaded onto a boat and then forced onto a small raft, only to be abandoned at sea. The former officer’s reaction was denial, but as the camera rolled during a break, he called his supervisor. While speaking in Greek, he called the actions in the video “obviously illegal” and “an international crime,” even questioning why they would do it in “broad daylight.”

Greece’s main opposition party is demanding an investigation following the report. The party’s immigration policy chief said that they have called for accountability from the coast guard for years.

A government spokesperson for Greece called the BBC’s claims unproven but said that every complaint would be reviewed, adding that the coast guard “saves dozens of human lives every day,” and it is “wrong to target them.”

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

[LAUREN TAYLOR]

MASKED MEN ABDUCTING AND THROWING MIGRANTS INTO THE SEA.

FORCING ASYLUM-SEEKERS AND THEIR CHILDREN INTO OPEN WATERS ON ILL-FATED RAFTS.

THESE ACTIONS HAVE ALLEGEDLY LED TO THE DEATHS OF DOZENS OVER THE PAST THREE YEARS.

NOW A NEW DOCUMENTARY IS SHEDDING LIGHTS ON THE FATES OF HUNDREDS OF MIGRANTS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN. 

THE FILM: ‘DEAD CALM: KILLING IN THE MED?” IS THE CULMINATION OF INVESTIGATIVE WORK BY THE B-B-C.

THEY ALLEGE THE ACTIONS FROM A GREEK SPECIAL OPERATIONS PATROL BOAT CREW CAPSIZED THEM LEADING TO THE DEATHS OF HUNDREDS IN ONE OF THE WORST REFUGEE BOAT DISASTERS IN MODERN HISTORY. 

MORE THAN 600 PEOPLE DROWNED IN JUNE OF LAST YEAR WHEN THEIR BOAT CAPSIZED. 

THE FILM IS REFOCUSING ATTENTION ON THAT INCIDENT – REVEALING FIRST-HAND ACCOUNTS AND COURT DOCUMENTS.

WITNESSES SAY THE GREEK SPECIAL FORCES – MAY HAVE TOWED THE VESSEL OUTSIDE OF GREEK WATERS – AND THEN STOOD IDLY BY AS THEY WATCHED THE BOAT SINK. 

THE SHOCKING ALLEGATIONS APPEAR TO BE PART OF A LARGER ISSUE WITH THE WAY GREEK AUTHORITIES ARE HANDLING THE INFLUX OF MIGRANTS FROM SYRIA AND OTHER NON-EU NATIONS.

GREECE HAS LONG-BEEN ACCUSED OF FORCING REFUGEES OUT OF THE COUNTRY. HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS SAY THESE PRACTICES CONTINUE DESPITE NEW ASYLUM REGULATIONS AND INTERNATIONAL LAW.  

IN ONE INCIDENT, A SYRIAN REFUGEE SAID PEOPLE ON HIS BOAT CALLED FOR HELP FROM THE GREEK COAST GUARD AFTER IT STALLED.

HE SAYS THE COAST GUARD PUT HIM AND OTHERS ON A RAFT WITH A LEAKING VALVE. THE RAFT SANK– KILLING EIGHT CHILDREN. HE SAYS CRIES FOR HELP WERE IGNORED BY GREEK AUTHORITIES.

AND SHORTLY BEFORE THE DOCUMENTARY WAS RELEASED – THE BBC SHARED THIS VIDEO – IN WHICH A FORMER SENIOR OFFICER WITH THE GREEK COAST GUARD REACTS TO CLAIMS HIS AGENCY ABANDONED A DOZEN PEOPLE, INCLUDING SMALL CHILDREN ON A BOAT AT SEA. 

[DMITRIS BALTAKOS]

“I CAN SEE PEOPLE GETTING ON BOARD THE VESSEL. DOESN’T SEEM LIKE IT’S FORCEFUL.  CAN YOU SEE ANY SMALL CHILDREN? MMMM… YES. NOW, I CAN. DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THAT VIDEO? I DON’T.”

[LAUREN TAYLOR]

WITH CAMERAS STILL ROLLING– HE CALLED HIS SUPERVISOR CONFLICTED WITH WHAT TO REVEAL.

GREECE’S MAIN OPPOSITION PARTY IS NOW DEMANDING AN INVESTIGATION IN THE WAKE OF THE REPORT. THEIR IMMIGRATION POLICY CHIEF SAYS HIS PARTY HAS CALLED FOR INCREASED ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THE COAST GUARD FOR YEARS. 

A GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON SAYS THE BBC’S CLAIMS ARE UNPROVEN BUT SAID EVERY COMPLAINT WILL BE REVIEWED. ADDING, THE COAST GUARD, ‘SAVES DOZENS OF HUMAN LIVES EVERY DAY,” AND IT IS “WRONG TO TARGET THEM.”

FOR STORIES WITH STRAIGHT FACTS– NO BIAS—DOWNLOAD THE STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS APP AND CHECK OUT OUR WEBSITE SAN-DOT-COM.