Twelve people who are presumed to be migrants were found dead and 15 were rescued in western Greece on Friday after a boat capsized off the coast of the island Lefkada. Four children were among the victims.
The passengers were aboard a plastic, 23-26 foot boat that sank in the early morning during good weather conditions. Marine officials told the Associated Press the boat was probably overcrowded.
The Merchant Marine Ministry alleges the migrants were headed to Italy from the Greek mainland though it is unclear where the voyage began. According to the AP, Greek is the European Union’s busiest illegal immigration transit point.
“The new tragedy off Lefkada, with victims including young children, confirms the need to immediately implement initiatives taken by the European Union, with Greece’s initiative too, to deal with the problem of illegal migration,” said government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou.