Thirteen people have been rescued, three have lost their lives and many people are feared missing, after a boat carrying an unknown number of passengers sank off the island of Folegandros on 21 December. This may be the worst shipwreck incident in the Aegean Sea this year.
All 13 survivors, including one man who was found alive a day after the incident took place, have been transferred to Santorini island, while the bodies of three men have been recovered so far. One survivor told the Hellenic Coast Guard that as many as 50 people could have been onboard.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is deeply saddened by this latest tragedy that may have claimed dozens of lives. Although the search and rescue by the Hellenic Coast Guard continues, there are fears that no more survivors will be found.
“This shipwreck is a painful reminder that people continue to embark on perilous voyages in search of safety”, said Adriano Silvestri, UNHCR Assistant Representative (Protection) in Greece.
“Such tragic deaths are avoidable, including through the establishment of regular and safe pathways that could prevent people from resorting to smugglers”, he added.
UNHCR estimates that from January until the end of November this year, more than 2,500 people died or went missing at sea in their attempt to reach Europe.