Tuesday

3rd Aug 2021

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

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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. Poland, Czech Republic offer visa to Belarus 'asylum' athlete
  2. 200,000 protest against French Covid-19 health pass
  3. Greece issued nearly 10,000 migrant detention orders
  4. Officials worried at infection-surge on Greek holiday islands
  5. EU calls on online platforms to tackle vaccine hesitancy
  6. Russia accused of falling short on Sputnik V deliveries
  7. France: UK quarantine rules 'discriminatory'
  8. Italy's government reaches deal on judicial reform

'We are not slaves': Brussels' migrant hunger-strike

Almost 500 undocumented migrants in Brussels have been demanding a legal pathway for residency in Belgium. Most have been on hunger strike since 23 May, with some now refusing water. MEPs are demanding the Belgian government offer them a solution.

Exclusive

EU firms up plans for Libya military mission

The EU is firming up plans for a military mission to Libya in order to compete with foreign powers there, according to a leaked paper seen by EUobserver.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. NGOs rescue around 800 people in Mediterranean
  2. Report: Pfizer and Moderna raise vaccine prices for EU
  3. Amazon deforestation and the EU-Mercosur trade deal
  4. Moldova facing Europe's worst demographic crisis
  5. Malta responsible for journalist's death, inquiry finds
  6. Can Greece work with Biden to solve the West Balkans impasse?
  7. EU and UK frustrated at US travel ban extension
  8. Polish judges rally behind EU court ruling

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us