Greece rescues cargo ship with 400 migrants in distress off island of Crete

The Greek Coast Guard said the rescue operation was “one of the largest” ever carried out in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Greece organized a rescue operation for a cargo ship carrying around 400 migrants and refugees after sending a distress signal off the island of Crete, according to the country’s coast guard.

The Greek Coast Guard quoted passengers as saying the Turkish-flagged ship had left Turkey, calling Friday’s response “one of the largest search and rescue operations in the eastern Mediterranean.”

Greek authorities, who had previously been told the ship was paralyzed and needed help, said it was being brought ashore but gave no further details. The nationalities of the passengers were not immediately made public.

“At the moment, the important thing is to bring the ship to a safe anchorage,” an official with knowledge of the operation told the Associated Press news agency. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.

A photograph posted by the Greek Coast Guard on their website showed dozens of people, apparently mostly men, standing in groups on the deck of a battered-looking small freighter with what appeared to be the name ” Vatha “painted on her bow.