The rudderless Kiribati-flagged freighter Baris, which was located on Tuesday about 30 miles off the coast of Crete, has been tugged to Ierapetra. There, healthcare services are on stand-by to examine the estimated 700 migrants, who will be housed at the city’s in-door basketball stadium.
The weather conditions on Tuesday were particularly adverse, with the strong gales of 35 to 40 knots and three-meter high waves making the Navy operation more difficult. The Baris was tugged to Ierapetra by the Navy’s Hydra frigate. On Wednesday a 34-year-old pregnant woman was airlifted from the ship and rushed to the University Hospital of Iraklio.
According to military sources, aside from the migrants, a number of armed men who are likely the human traffickers appear to be on-board the rudderless ship. Coast Guard officers have boarded the ship to carry out inspections, to which some migrants objected. No weapons have been recovered so far.