Cyprus Mail

Another boat load of migrants found off Cape Greco (Updated)

File photo

A vessel carrying 36 migrants and refugees from Syria, including babies and underage children, arrived in Cyprus on a boat on Monday, the most recent of several arrivals in the past 10 days or so.

The vessel was escorted by marine police to a fishing harbour in Paralimni where the 11 men, 11 women, and 14 underage children, including four babies, were received by the immigration service and members of the civil defence.

The vessel had been detected by radar at around 2.30pm sailing 14 nautical miles off Cape Greco.

A marine police patrol boat was dispatched to the area and escorted the vessel to the fishing harbour at Paralimni at around 5pm.

The migrants will be processed by the authorities before they are transferred to a reception centre in Kokkinotrimithia, Nicosia.

The frequency of irregular migrant arrivals from Syria has seen a spike in recent days with over 100 people coming to the Republic either by boat or through the buffer zone from northern Cyprus.

Deeply concerned over the fact, Interior Minister Constantinos Petrides has summoned a meeting on Tuesday with his counterparts at the ministries of foreign affairs, justice, and labour to take stock of the situation.

Petrides has previously said that Cyprus has reached its limits as concerns asylum seekers and called for a holistic approach that includes an automatic mechanism for redistributing asylum seekers.

Most of the 15,000 people who have been granted or are seeking asylum in Cyprus are Syrian with a 40 per cent increase in applications in the first five months of this year alone.

Between 2002 and 2017, the island afforded international protection – asylum and subsidiary protection – to some 10,000 foreign nationals. There are 3,000 pending applications since last year plus a further 2,435 in 2018.