Via Ekathimerini – More than 1.800 migrants arrived on the Greeks islands in January, according to the European Border and Coast Agency Frontex on Tuesday. The number of arrivals in January, mostly Syrian and Iraqi nationals, represented a 43 percent drop compared to the previous month.
Via Star Tribune – Romania’s coastguard on Tuesday rescued 66 migrants, including dozens of children, aboard a Turkish ship on the Black Sea after the vessel issued a distress signal.
A statement said the ship reported engine trouble early Tuesday as it was being battered by high winds in rough waters some 35 kilometers (22 miles) from the Black Sea coast, and asked Romanian authorities and a commercial ship in the area for help. Continue reading Romania: coastguard rescues 66 migrants on ship in Black Sea
Via PRI – During World War II, Romania’s Jewish refugees, fleeing extermination in Europe, would pay to cram aboard flimsy boats crossing the Black Sea to the Middle East. In 2017, Romania’s shores have been the recipient of migrant boats traveling the journey in reverse, as a rarely-used smuggler’s passage is reactivated.
The recent boat arrivals have prompted speculation that the Black Sea is opening up as a perilous new corridor into Europe, though such observations may be premature.
Via Bordermonitoring Bulgaria – The escape route from Turkey via the black sea was rarely used in 2013 and 2014 before the so called refugee crisis in Europe reached its peak. Since the recent crackdown on the Aegean Sea route in the last months, more and more people are again trying to travel from Turkey via the Black Sea to reach Bulgaria or Romania. Since the beginning of 2017, already 649 migrants were caught, while they tried to cross via Black Sea. Continue reading Is a new deadly route being (re-)established in the Black Sea?
Via Hurriyet Daily News – At least 19 people were killed after a fishing boat carrying migrants sank off the northwestern Turkish coast of Kocaeli in the Black Sea early on Sept. 22. An unborn baby is reportedly among those killed migrants in the accident.
Coastguard teams were searching for other migrants who went missing following the capsizing off the Kefken coast, while some 40 migrants have already been rescued from the sea. The incident occurred 64 sea miles off the coast. Continue reading At least 19 killed after boat carrying migrants sinks off Turkey’s Black Sea coast
Via Daily Sabah Turkey – Security forces intercepted 150 Syrian refugees who boarded a fishing boat to Romania from the Black Sea city of Kastamonu on a route probably used for the first time by migrants trying to reach Europe.
Via Middle East Eye – Romanian authorities said on Monday that they caught a fishing boat carrying 68 asylum seekers, including 23 children, off Romania’s coast, raising fears that a new migrating route to Europe has opened up.
Government officials reported intercepting the boat, carrying Iraqis and Syrians, late on Sunday evening in the Black Sea in Romania’s southeastern Constanta region, in the second such incident in the last week.
“They were accompanied by two Turkish traffickers,” Ionela Pasat, a spokeswoman for the Constanta coastguard, told AFP.
The group was brought to the port of Mangalia for medical examinations on Monday before being handed over to the immigration authorities, she said.
Coastguards reported a boat with 69 Iraqi asylum seekers in Romanian waters on 13 August. One Bulgarian and one Cypriot were taken into custody on suspicion of human trafficking.
Despite pleging to take in 1,942 refugees on Friday, EU member Romania has avoided the largest migration crisis since the Second World War, due to being outside of the European Union’s passport-free Schengen zone.
The route from Turkey to Greece by sea has been curtailed since the EU signed a deal with Ankara last year to halt the flow of migrants in exchange for $3.5bn aid to assist Turkey’s hosting of refugees.
Turkey’s neighbour Greece also agreed under the deal to detain all refugees arriving on its Aegean islands in the hope of deterring others.
Yet concerns have been raised in Bucharast that the Black Sea route could emerge as an alternative passage for migrants, as opposed to the traditional but treacherous Mediterranean route.
Romanian police have already reported a five-fold increase in migrants attempting to cross the border illegally since 2016.
Over 111,000 migrants have reached Europe by sea so far this year, mostly crossing from Libya to Italy, according to recent statistics. Proving a risky route, over 2,300 have died attemping to sail across.
NGO rescue ships were banned from patrolling Libyan waters where hundreds of thousands of people have been rescued in recent years and taken to Italy.
The article was originally published by Middle East Eye. To read the article there, click here.