Greece to Strengthen Coast Guard Amid Surge in Migrant Arrivals

The Greek government decided at an urgent meeting on Saturday to strengthen the Coast Guard due to an increasing number of illegal immigrant arrivals, a spokesman for the government told reporters.

“During the meeting, a decision was made to continue measures on evacuating the migrants and refugees from the [Greek] islands, strengthen the Coast Guard with additional ships and personnel in the eastern Aegean Sea, and expand cooperation with the partners – Frontex [EU border protection agency] and NATO,” the spokesman said.

The news comes as data from Frontex shows that in August there were nearly 9,300 detections of illegal migrants reaching Greece, accounting for nearly three-quarters of the total number reaching Europe.

In the first eight months of this year, the total number of detections in this region was up ten percent from one year ago, representing more than 38,300 migrants.

The Greek authorities are currently transferring asylum seekers from the overcrowded reception facilities to the mainland, albeit at insignificant rates and speed.