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Greece migrant boat catastrophe: Mapping a tragedy on coast guard’s watch Lalrp

The earliest of greater than a dozen misery calls got here the morning of June 13. On a ship overpacked with migrants, water had run out and the state of affairs was deteriorating.

But the Greek coast guard didn’t name for a high-priority rescue operation. In subsequent hours, officers maintained the vessel was continuing with a “regular course and pace” and other people on board didn’t need assist. Greek officers deny accountability for what occurred that evening, when the migrant boat, a fishing trawler often called the Adriana, capsized and despatched as many as 750 individuals into the Mediterranean Sea.

The conflicting accounts of the Adriana’s closing minutes are probably the most fraught — whether or not the boat capsized on account of a panic-induced shift in weight, because the coast guard contends, or it overturned whereas being towed by the coast guard, as some survivors have described.

However an investigation by The Washington Put up additionally casts doubt on the opposite important claims by Greek officers and means that the deadliest Mediterranean shipwreck in years was a preventable tragedy.

[They knew the boat could sink. Boarding it didn’t feel like a choice.]

Opposite to the coast guard account that the boat was making regular progress and decided to get to Italy, The Put up discovered the boat’s pace fluctuated dramatically — in step with passenger recollections of engine issues — whereas circling again on its route.

Maritime rescue veterans and authorized specialists stated Greek officers exploited indications that help wasn’t needed and failed of their obligation to launch an all-hands rescue effort as quickly because the precarious boat was detected.

“That is egregious,” stated Aaron Davenport, a retired senior officer within the U.S. Coast Guard who commanded sea rescue operations, together with these involving migrants. “They despatched a helicopter on the market. They need to have despatched a complete bunch of vessels, referred to as for help from everywhere in the decrease Mediterranean, and gotten life preservers and gotten these individuals out.”

Coast guard spokesperson Nikos Alexiou stated Greece needs to be acknowledged for finally serving to to rescue 104 individuals. “We had been there attempting to get them to get assist,” he stated. “They didn’t notice the hazard. [There was] good climate, they had been crusing usually.”

Retracing the trail of the Adriana

To retrace the trail of the Adriana, The Put up examined satellite tv for pc imagery, mapped ship visitors information and built-in coordinates from misery calls and official stories and testimony. To reconstruct what occurred, The Put up then in contrast official statements, accounts from the service provider vessels and interviews with survivors, activists and maritime specialists. All instances are in Central European Summer season Time (CEST) within the time zone the place the occasions came about.