The Greek Coast Guard said it had detained 77 illegal immigrants off the island of Mykonos, one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, in the height of the season.
The migrants – 53 men, 12 women and 12 children – were picked up on July 25th by a Coast Guard vessel and transferred to the island’s main port, filled with tourists.
Reports said police had arrested another 56 undocumented migrants on the island, which is far further from the coasts of Turkey and Africa than the Greek islands where illegal immigrants have been found.
No information was immediately available on the migrants’ nationalities.
Greece, the European Union’s southernmost coast, is a key entry point for illegal immigrants seeking asylum or to use the country as a jumping-off point for other destinations.
Many pay smuggling gangs to secretly ferry them to the Greek islands, frequently risking their lives in unseaworthy craft, and scores have died this year when their boats sank, and many others had to be rescued.
The immigrants, despite the dangers, continue to flock from Africa, Asia and the Middle East, including many refugees from Syria’s civil war.