Passenger ship “Eleftherios Venizelos,” which departed with 1,700 Syrian refugees from the Greek island of Kos on Wednesday morning, changed its final destination yet again.
According to information provided by the Greek Coast Guard on Wednesday evening, the ship will eventually dock at the port of Piraeus, where refugees will disembark upon its arrival at around 9 am on Thursday.
Prior to this latest route change, the ship was scheduled to dock at the port of Thessaloniki, from where the refugees would be transported with buses to the Greek border with FYROM.
The ship had stopped by the islands of Leros and Kalymnos earlier in the day to board additional refugees.
Incident in Kos
On Wednesday, migrants and refugees reportedly surrounded the Kos police station to complain about delays in their documentation. As a result, police officers remained inside the station for hours.
Kos mayor Giorgos Kyritsis, who had previously warned of future bloodshed if the Greek government does not step in to assist the island, bemoaned the incident and argued that the situation will further escalate.
“There is a need for permanent presence of police special forces in Kos. I asked for this from the beginning. It is time for everyone to realize that the documentation process cannot happen at the Kos police station. It is impossible to identify 3 and 4 thousand people. I am once again warning that we are headed to uncontrollable situations,” the mayor said.
Earlier in the day, the municipality of Kos expressed its opposition to the construction of a permanent reception center for migrants and refugees arriving on the island.
The announcement was a response to Panagiotis Nikas, director of the first reception service of Greece’s Interior Ministry, who told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency on Tuesday that a permanent reception center for migrants and refugees is under development in Kos.
The municipality’s announcement takes issue with what is seen to be a one-sided initiative by Nikas.
“They obviously do not find it useful to inform either the municipality or the citizens of Kos. They decide for our island and are planning to impose. If they decide without us, they should not count on us. The mayor of Kos has posed specific questions on the creation of reception center and has asked for specific guarantees. These issues have not been answered,” Kos’ municipality wrote.