Sunday

21st Apr 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 18 year's of archives. 30 days 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.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us