mayan queen rescuing refugees in Greece

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Credit: STRINGER/Eurokinissi/AFP via Getty Images

93m Mayan Queen IV rescues at least 100 migrants after boat sinks in Greece

14 June 2023 • Written by Katia Damborsky

The 93.5-metre Mayan Queen IV has rescued at least 100 people as part of major search and rescue operation after an Italy-bound migrant boat sunk 47 nautical miles off Greece's southern Peloponnese peninsula in the early hours of 14 June.

Authorities report at least 78 people have drowned, but the boat was thought to be carrying in excess of 300 people, with conflicting reports putting the number of passengers as high as 750. It is understood 104 survivors have been pulled from the water so far.

A statement by the Hellenic Coast Guard has claimed a coastal patrol vessel attempted to make contact with the boat several times before the disaster, but the "foreigners refused both supplies and assistance" and "stated their desire to continue their voyage to Italy". 

"In the early hours of the morning today, the above fishing boat overturned and finally sank and [we] immediately began a wide search and rescue operation with the participation of the Coastal Patrol vessel LS-EL.AKT and three passing ships," continued the statement. Several other rescue vessels and a helicopter also arrived at the scene.

Read More/Five of the most impressive rescues at sea

A second statement by the Coast Guard published later said: " The Ministry of Immigration and Asylum [...] was in contact with the Coast Guard - Hellenic Coast Guard regarding the tragic incident of the shipwreck in international waters in the maritime area of ​​47 nautical miles southwest of Pylos". 

"The shipwreck brings to the fore once again, in the most tragic way, the need to dismantle the international smuggling rings that endanger the lives of migrants," it continued.


Mayan Queen IV has since arrived in the port of Kalamata, where survivors have received medical attention. Images on social media show multiple ambulances and medical professionals at the scene, with at least 22 survivors hospitalised.

The boat was believed to be sailing towards Italy carrying refugees from Libya. The cause of the incident remains unknown.

A representative of Mayan Queen IV was not prepared to comment on the situation at this time.

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