Frontex charters ships for deportations to Turkey

Era Aegean* –  Frontex wants to charter three ships for the next two years, with a one year renewal option, in order to make deportations of refugees and migrants from Lesvos, Chios and Kos towards ports of Turkey.

The notice of the Frontex tender is made under the controversial EU-Turkish Declaration on the refugee issue, although the situation of human rights is precarious in the neighboring country [Turkey] and although a decision from the Council of State is still pending on the legality of the decision to expel two Syrians, who deny that Turkey is a “safe third country” for them.

According to the tender notice, until February 14, separate bids have to be submitted for the plan to charter three boats, which will carry out deportation routes once a week from Lesbos to Dikili and twice a month from Chios to Cesme and from Kos in Gkioulouk.

The cost is two million euros for Lesvos and one million euros for each of the other two services and the contract is fixed to 48 months, renewable twice for a total of another year.

The vessels must have a minimum capacity of 100 people indoors, which will enable the restriction of access to the open areas.

The following note of the tender is worth mentioning, according to which in order to “to ensure proper hygiene conditions as well as the cleanliness of the ship, the seats can be covered with protective plastic covers during the trip”.

The vessel must be equipped with all necessary rescue materials and have a doctor during the trip, who will carry basic medical equipment and generic drugs with.

The supply of catering products to those deported and to the accompanying staff are also foreseen: two sandwiches without pork, a can of soda and two small bottles of water.

Another requirement is the assurance of confidentiality of the proceedings by the board staff, who are not allowed to take photos and videos or comment on social media whatever occurs during the trip.

Despite all developments in Turkey and the challenge of the possibility to deport refugees and migrants towards a country which, according to rights associations, cannot guarantee the respect of the principle of non-refoulement, that it provides to refugees the rights stipulated in the international refugee law and that gives them access to decent living conditions, the European Commission is preparing to intensify deportations to Turkey, determined to implement the Euro-Turkish declaration at all costs.

A few days ago, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency launched the so-called European Intervention Groups in matters of Returns, consisting of 690 experts in return, escorts and observers topics, who will act in emergency situations either voluntarily or upon invitation of a member-state. The decision on asylum and deportations remains with the competency of member-states.

“Ensuring the return of irregular migrants who do not fulfill the conditions for entry, stay or residence in the EU and reducing the incentives for illegal immigration are essential elements for the proper function of the immigration policy and an important objective of our European Agenda for Migration”, said the competent Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.

The original article is in Greek, we translated the article in English. Find the original article here

Frontex published a press release about it and the tender as well!