Greek authorities have located 72 foreign nationals that were illegally smuggled into Greece on the island of Kythera, the coast guard announced on Sunday.
The search was prompted by the discovery on Saturday afternoon of a sailing boat that was floating adrift east-southeast of the island and which contained evidence that it had been used for illegal migrant smuggling. Three coast guard patrol boats scoured the waters in the area, while a similar search was also carried out on land.
This led to the gradual location of 72 foreign nationals on the island up until Saturday night, who were taken to the Reception and Identification Centre on Leros in a coast guard vessel.
There was also an extensive search during the night to find members of organised migrant-smuggling rings, with no result.
The operation was kept secret until late on Saturday in order to assist in locating the smugglers or other persons involved in the illegal transfer. The coast guard headquarters denied reports that local coast guard officers had sought to censor local media.