32 survivors of migrant drowning tragedy arrive in Piraeus

Remains of 12 unidentified victims of Samos sinking also taken to Athens

32 survivors of last week's boating disaster off Samos and the bodies of 12 unidentified taken to Piraeus on board the European Express

The yacht in which the tragedy occured is removed from the sea by coastguard officials on Samos (Photo: AFP) The yacht in which the tragedy occured is removed from the sea by coastguard officials on Samos (Photo: AFP) The 32 survivors of last week's migrant boat disaster off the coast of Samos, in which 22 people drowned and another seven remain missing, arrived in Piraeus on Monday morning, on the European Express ferry.

Among the survivors of last Monday's disaster, caused when a 10m yacht and a dinghy carrying undocumented migrants capsized, are seven Syrian nationals, 24 Somalis and a woman from Eritrea.

Also on board the European Express were the remains of 12 of the 22 victims recovered from the capsized boat that the authorities have not been able to identify. Ten victims were identified and buried on Samos. The victims included four children and a pregnant woman.

Representatives of Syriza's human rights group held a rally at the port to coincide with the arrival of the survivors.

Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias instructed the border protection services to grant temporary asylum to the survivors, all of whom are undocumented migrants, giving them a six-month stay of deportation with the prospect of renewal, on humanitarian grounds.

Two Syrian nationals accused as migrant traffickers have been arrested in connection with the tragedy.

Upon his arrival in Piraeus, a 25-year-old refugee from Somalia told reporters that he had paid $2,000 to reach Turkey and from there travel by boat in Greece and Europe.

He said that they were at sea for four hours when the boat carrying them sank, which he blamed on the trafficker putting 60 people into the vessel which could really only accommodate 25. He added that the skipper was drunk and may have taken some pills.

The survivors were treated well upon their rescue by the coastguard, he said, and he now hopes to seek asylum and go to the UK or Norway where he has friends and relatives.

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