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Cyprus rescues 86 migrants in Mediterranean

By AFP - Aug 20,2023 - Last updated at Aug 20,2023

NICOSIA — Cypriot authorities rescued 86 migrants on Sunday after their boat got into difficulty 12 nautical miles off the Mediterranean island's southeast coast, officials said.

The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) said the operation was successful, with 61 men, six women and 19 children brought safely to shore.

They are expected to be transferred to a migrant reception centre on the outskirts of the capital Nicosia.

A marine police patrol boat and two speedboats were involved in the rescue off Cape Greco, near the resort of Ayia Napa, a JRCC statement said.

No details were immediately available on the nationalities of those rescued or from where their boat had set sail.

On August 15, Cypriot authorities rescued 60 migrants in distress in the same area.

Authorities say there has been a rise in the number of migrants arriving by boat this year, with a 60 per cent increase recorded in the first five months compared with the same period last year.

According to the Aliens and Immigration Unit, most irregular migrants arriving by sea board boats in the Syrian port of Tartus, and these vessels are usually detected off Cape Greco.

European Union member Cyprus argues that it is a “frontline country” on the Mediterranean migrant route, with asylum-seekers making up 5 per cent of the 915,000 people living in government-controlled areas of the island — the highest proportion in the bloc.

Returns of failed asylum seekers have exceeded 4,370 so far this year, sharply up on the 2,353 recorded for 2022, Interior Minister Constantinos Ioannou said last month.

 

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