Thursday

21st Nov 2019

New trend of migrant 'yachts' heading to Italy, says Europol

  • Most sail boats are leaving from Turkey's southern coast. (Photo: tayfun)

The EU's police agency Europol says a new trend is emerging of people smuggling migrants on sailing yachts from Turkey to Italy.

Europol has logged over 160 trips by this route, noting that migrants are paying up to €6,000 per head. Children are usually charged half price. Such prices may vary by nationality, by the type of boat, and by the number of people transported at the same time.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 year's of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

In an email sent on Friday (13 October), the Hague-based agency told EUobserver that the trend emerged following the closure of the Western Balkan route in the spring of 2016.

The vast majority take off from the southern coast of Turkey before landing in Apulia, Calabria, or the Syracuse province of Sicily.

"We are dealing with transnational organised crime groups who are located in Turkey," it said.

The skippers are recruited mainly from Ukraine. Others come from Belarus, Georgia, and Russia. A few others come from Azerbaijan, Syria and Turkey.

The migrants taking this route are mainly from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, and Syria.

The agency also noted the re-emergence of an alternative route across the Black Sea from Turkey to Romania and an increase in arrivals from the western Mediterranean to Spain.

Smugglers are also employing more life-threatening methods of concealment for those that reach mainland Europe. Some hide in a vehicle's engine compartment as they approach a land border.

Europol chief Rob Wainright, in a statement, said migrant smuggling "has become a big and dangerous business in Europe."

Afghan migrant returns unlawful, says charity

Thousands of people are being returned from Europe to Afghanistan as the country undergoes some of its worst violence in years. Amnesty International is accusing the EU of "willful blindness" for backing the returns.

Opinion

The unbearable lightness of leadership

Politicians and civic leaders need a new sense of optimism if they are to avoid mere 'sticking plaster' solutions to migration.

MEPs: EU migrant quotas do have a future

The EU Parliament's lead negotiator on the Dublin rule, a key asylum regulation that has sparked a political clash among EU states, is now demanding for an automatic and permanent relocation scheme.

News in Brief

  1. Berlusconi wants Europe to be a military global power
  2. Orban ordered to apologise over 'misleading' Soros survey
  3. EPP to decide on expelling Fidesz by end of January
  4. Rowdy anti-corruption protest in Malta
  5. Ambassador: Trump ordered Ukraine election meddling
  6. EU links Libyan government to human trafficking
  7. Greek PM on migration: 'Greece has reached its limits'
  8. Luxembourg: EU ought to recognise Palestine

Opinion

Europe's refugee policy is test of its true 'way of life'

As ex-national leaders, we know it's not easy to withstand public pressures and put collective interests ahead of domestic concerns. But without strong institutional leadership, EU values themselves risk ringing hollow, not least to those seeking protection on Europe's shores.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Latest News

  1. EPP wants to re-open accession talks with Balkans
  2. New EU financial instruments needed
  3. Binding measures to expand gender balance
  4. Watershed moment for rule of law in Hong Kong
  5. EU Africa envoy: Europe needs to look beyond migration
  6. New calls for Muscat to resign over journalist's murder
  7. Tusk pledges 'fight' for EU values as new EPP president
  8. Don't lead Europe by triggering its fears

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us