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Around 20 Afghans feared drowned off the coast of Corfu

Rescuers have not yet found over 20 migrants who were traveling on a ship that sank in stormy seas off the coast of Corfu on the weekend. The vessel was packed with more than 200 migrants, including women and children.

A Corfu coastline

Migrants headed into Europe often land first on Corfu

A cargo ship rescued scores of shipwrecked Afghan migrants off the Greek island of Corfu on Sunday, but survivors said over 20 of their fellow passengers were still missing.

The Hasan Reis vessel sank overnight on Saturday, and high winds hampered the efforts of rescue boats to reach the ship. The worn trawler, which was bound for Italy with over 200 people on board, sank about 54 kilometers off the coast of Corfu.

A Dutch cargo ship, the Momentum, was first to reach the stricken vessel, roughly seven hours after the Coast Guard received a distress call. The ship's captain reported that he took 241 people on board.

Greek radio reported on Sunday that several ships, Coast Guard patrol boats and aircraft were still searching for the missing.

The rescued migrants were mostly men but included 11 children and five women. Fifteen were hospitalized with minor injuries.

Police are looking into the possibility of human trafficking. Many of those on board said they had paid roughly 3,000 euros ($4,015) to be transported to Italy.

Located at the edge of the European Union, and with a relatively incoherent immigration policy, Greece has become the main entry point for illegal migration into Europe - with the island of Corfu one of the country's hotspots.

Author: Mark Hallam (AFP, AP, dpa)
Editor: Kyle James

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