Shipwreck survivors' account of events differ from Greek authorities'
Greek authorities and officials from the EU border agency Frontex were notified late Tuesday about the damaged ship.
Greece has been reportedly pursuing a search for survivors after a boat capsized and sank in the Ionian Sea last Wednesday, with the number of victims feared to surpass a hundred.
On Thursday, the coastguard reported that 78 bodies had been found, while relatives in the migrants' home nations anxiously searched for information about their loved ones.
It is worth noting that Greek authorities and officials from the EU border agency Frontex were notified late Tuesday about the damaged ship.
A different story
Today, the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, based on the accounts of survivors, presented a different version from the Greek authorities, revealing that the boat with hundreds of people had started "toward the coast of the Peloponnese" and did not eventually set a course for the coast of Calabria in Italy.
The Italian newspaper also refers to the photo released by Frontex, which shows hundreds of migrants with their hands raised, and points out that it shows them pleading for help while the boat was still sailing. The survivors' testimonies conflict with the official narrative of the Coast Guard, which claimed that the migrants refused to be rescued.
According to La Repubblica, the boat's engine had problems about six hours after the journey began with several of the migrants even asking to be returned to Libya, but the captain and the traffickers continued on their way.
The situation got out of hand when the drinking water on the ship ran out, with many, already dehydrated, starting to faint, while two dead children were in the hold along with four other people, the report added citing the survivors' testimonies.
The captain changed the course of the fishing vessel toward the Greek authorities and abandoned the ship in an inflatable boat, as per the report. Then, the tragedy happened.
In a recorded video, survivors told the Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras that the Greek coastguard attempted to tow the ship carrying the migrants before it capsized, the report added.
The boat that capsized off the coast of Greece, killing at least 78 people, is said to have been being dragged by the Greek Coast Guard at the time.— Lowkey (@Lowkey0nline) June 16, 2023
Hundreds are still missing...pic.twitter.com/s3YuEgJ5Um
Commenting on whether the coastguard towed the boat before it sank, Tsipras affirmed that indeed survivors told him so, adding "but I am not an expert to know if it is true," TPP reported.
A member of the Parliamentary Assembly Kriton Arsenis previously told TPP that "the refugees told us that the boat overturned, while it was being towed by the coast guard, they didn't understand how either."
Greece is frequently the destination of choice for migrants leaving Africa and the Middle East in search of a better life in the European Union. However, they were never warmly welcomed, as shooting and ramming incidents by the Greek authorities were repeatedly reported while at sea.