In Greece, after the serious boat accident with probably hundreds of drowned migrants, a dispute has broken out about responsibility for the incident. "It's a crime - where are the culprits?" was the headline in the left-wing newspaper "Efimerida ton Syntakton".
Politicians, especially from left-wing parties, see the conservative government as responsible for the past four years. Because of the strict controls she introduced at sea, smugglers are now choosing more dangerous, longer routes past Greece directly to Italy, the accusation is.
The tragedy and the debate come at a time of turbulent domestic politics in Greece. Parliamentary elections will be held again on June 25 after the elections in May failed to form a government. An interim government made up of senior civil servants and academics is currently in office. She ordered three days of national mourning after the accident. The interim ministers now have to deal with allegations surrounding the accident.
Stampede on the boat?
Yesterday, Alexis Tsipras, head of the largest opposition party, the left-wing Syriza, saw the coastguard as complicit. In an argument, he asked the interim minister for civil protection, Evangelos Tournas, why she had not intervened. Tournas said intervening in international waters is not possible if the boat's captain refuses to do so. The crew had been offered help several times, but this was consistently refused.
According to observers, an uninvited approach to the boat could have led to a dangerous stampede on board and capsizing, as people did not want to go to Greece. Experts suspect it was such panic among the passengers that caused the overcrowded ship to capsize and sink.
Pope deeply saddened
Meanwhile it has become known that there is practically no hope of finding any survivors. The search area in the waters southwest of Greece has been expanded again, as the coast guard announced. Pope Francis said he was "deeply saddened". "Such a great pain," the head of the Catholic Church told reporters when asked to comment on the Mediterranean disaster. The 86-year-old later tweeted: "I am deeply saddened by the deaths of migrants, including many children, in the shipwreck in the Aegean Sea. We must do everything we can to help migrants fleeing war and poverty , not finding death while seeking a future of hope."
According to media reports, the search for survivors will be stopped later today. Of the 104 survivors, nine suspects were arrested last night in the port city of Kalamata. The Egyptians are believed to be smugglers and organizers of the accident.
The fishing cutter, which is estimated to have 500 to 700 people, sank around 50 nautical miles southwest of the Peloponnese peninsula in international waters on Wednesday night. A mass panic is said to have broken out on board beforehand, which caused the overcrowded ship to capsize. Since then, 78 victims have been recovered. The authorities suspect that the boat sank very quickly. That is why the people below deck probably did not manage to escape to the open air.
Scene of the accident at the lowest point
On Friday, authorities began moving the survivors to a detention center north of Athens, where the migrants can be registered and apply for asylum. Only the nine suspected smugglers remained in police custody in Kalamata. According to the Coast Guard, these are Egyptians between the ages of 20 and 40. They are accused of negligent homicide, human trafficking and forming a criminal organization.
The scene of the accident is in the region of the deepest point in the Mediterranean Sea, the Calypso low, which is up to 5267 meters deep. A salvage of the wreck is therefore hardly likely. Experts consider such an attempt to be very time-consuming and expensive.