Germany furious with Times report presenting facts that ex Greek government sent Syrian refugees to central Europe, under “secret deals”

The Times revealed Tuesday, February 24, that Mr. Samaras’ government made a secret deal with a group of Syrian refugees in December offering them official residency papers and travel documents in return for information on people-smuggling gangs. About 200 people have so far been issued with the documents, and most have since left to claim asylum in other EU states.

Syrians who managed to reach Greece have told the Times of London newspaper that they convinced Athens to provide them with official residency papers. Once they had these, they were able to book flights to northern European countries more generous to migrants.

“The arrangement suited both parties, it is alleged. The Syrians did not want to settle in Greece, because the economy was in crisis and there were few jobs. Unlike Germany, it does not promote a policy of family reunification, where migrants can bring relatives to live with them once they are settled.”

Germany’s politicians reacted with fury, The Times said.

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How it started

About 840 Syrians took part in a 24-day sit-in protest in Athens demanding the right to travel to other European countries. They were initially told that they would have to claim asylum in Greece.

Later, the government quietly reversed its position and told them that they would receive the documents that recognised them as legitimate asylum seekers in Greece. They received two sets of papers: a Greek residency pass and Greek travel documents.

With official Greek residency papers, Syrians have been able to book a flight to Germany, rip their papers up during the flight and claim asylum once they land in Germany.

Under EU law, asylum seekers must remain in the first country they arrive in and can be deported back to that country if they travel to other member states.

However, countries that are popular with migrants, such as Germany, Denmark and Sweden, cannot send the newcomers back to Greece because deportations to the cash-strapped country have been suspended since 2011 to help it cope with its own problems.Last month Germany extended its suspension on sending asylum seekers back to Greece by another year. 

Abu Obei, one of the organisers of the Syrian demonstration, said: “When we started protesting in late November, the government [told us] that our only option was to claim asylum in Greece. But after 24 days a member of the government came to us and said we could work out a deal.”

“Refugees come to Greece as a transit point,” said Ahmed, a Syrian who has been in Greece for almost a year after crossing illegally from Turkey. “They want to travel on from here, so the thing everyone wants to avoid is having their fingerprints taken. If that happens, they can be deported back to Greece.”

                    Syrian-refugees1

Yannis Panousis, the new Greek minister of the interior, said that he was unaware of any sh uch deal, but pledged to investigate the claims.

Greek to me ! has early raised the story of governmental papers provided under “unknown status” to “unkown status immigrants” that cross seas and find themselves in Greece on search of a better life.
Last summer, since June 2014, Greek to me ! exclusive story of immigrants , unknown if ever were medically checked-during the error Ebola days-  were travelling by the approval of the ex Greek government to unkown destinations, but by papers issued by the Ministry of Interior Affairs in Greece, has raised flag for the travellers’ health safety .
An official question by the Independent Greeks ex- MP Vassilis Kapernaros was made on Parliament, but no answer was given.
Greek to me ! brought the story back again on late December 2014, by the Norman Atlantic Disaster, were, as it was revealed, an unknown number of immigrants were travelling by the ferry, -which might be close to 200, according to the Italian Prosecutor- for which the Greek government never said a word .
Go to our Greek to me Pages,   and stay 24/7  informed for the Cross-Road Greece
The Greek to me ! team
Source: the Times

Norman Atlantic tragedy: Unknown still the unaccounted. Do we know how many are missing?

ANEK FERRYSURVIVER

Who was Who on that Ferry? Who are those still missing from each country? Whose “flesh” is still burning on that floating hell after almost two weeks, and who is going to honestly inform the public for the macabre marine casualty?

Italian prosecutor Giuseppe Volpe, who is in Italy investigating the tragedy, said 98 people were unaccounted for after the disaster.
He said: “There are 98 people of whom there is still no news.”

Who are those people? Why nobody is talking for them?

In Greece , the story is by the media systematically played down, as the press is being intensively absorbed by the pre-election polarity .The stories of the survivors as they came alive from the elusive tragedy are being played down, and the latest days, the ferry story may not even appar on the news, fading out in the Greek public opinion .

But we are talking of an uncountable number of  human bodies, potentially still flamming in that ship, next to us :  Greeks, international travelers, and may be immigrants. Both Greek and Italian authorities expressed their “fear” that there might be numbers of immigrants that might be found which have illegaly boarded on the ship.  It is a routine situation on the Aegean , -and now as is broadly revealed,  and the Ionian ferries-, to have illicit immigrants on board.

On Saturday Jan. 4rth,  one week after the disaster, Brindisi Port Capt. Mario Valente said that temperatures were “very high” inside the deck. Smoke still poured from the wreck. There was no estimate of when the search might begin.

It remains unknown When we could know anything more precise, for the world, the families of the unknown number of unaccounted passengers, for the international travel, for Greece, Italy,and the Mediterranean. This is the update of the facts revealed and officialy announced after the disaster.

Tragedy Topic nr.1, the victims:Who was who, and how many?

Greece and Italy have issued widely different figures for how many people are still not accounted for in the ferry fire that killed at least 11 people in the Adriatic Sea.

  • The numbers ranged from as many as 98, according to Italian prosecutor Giuseppe Volpe,
  • to 18, according to the Greek Merchant Marine Ministry.

Concerning the marine typical obligation ,“It is up to the departure port to match up their list and the people (rescued).  “That is why we are continuing our (search) effort: we cannot know what the exact number was, Maurizio Lupi told to the media.

  • Greece says Italy’s list is full of duplications and misspellings but the discrepancy could not be immediately explained since the prosecutor’s office was closed for the New Year holiday. But after the New Year holiday , the question is miraculously forgotten .
  • Italian transport minister Maurizio Lupi said it was unclear whether the passenger list released by the Greek authorities was an accurate reflection of who was on board. He said the ferry had made a stopover on a Greek island before it ran into trouble on Sunday morning. “There is an embarkation list on which the names of the 427 passengers and 56 crew appear,” Mr Lupi said.
  •  The Italian prosecutor stated that the official number of missing persons could be disclosed when Greece decides to give us a reliable passenger list because’ Greece on these procedures has been particularly slow,” he added.

According to the Greek Coast Guard, there is no information for 19 people so far since the early days of the disaster, of whom 10 are Greeks, a number that is announced and diffused to the Greek press , but is 19 people and no (98!) ,five times minor than the 98 people which the Italian authorities announced.

Dozens of survivors are not included in the list of passengers. The official announcement of the Greek authorities stated that “there are reservations about the exact number of survivors we can notice. A reason which may contribute to the overall confusion, is the possibility that some tickets might have been given just by manuscripts after the ship departed, by the account department on board…. “

Tragedy Topic Nr. 2, Safety : Safety Control had reported Fire errors and Emergency Rescue Response Plan absence.

Apart from leaks and doupts for the Safety qualifications of this trip before it started, which appear, after the fatality, to be scaring scandalous also, the first moments of boarding on that ship -before departure -were not showing any signs of maritime Safety control, as was easily by the passengers noticed .

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The absence of an endorsed plan for the Cooperation of the ferry with the Greek Coastguard in case of accident, had been reported and notified to all the Greek Authorities in charge: the Ministry of Marine, the Headquarters of the Coast Guard and the Greek Coast Guard, and to the the Coast Operation Center. The paper of formal notification had been sent eight days before the ship was caught in flames on that fatal journey. The Central Patras Port Authority after concluding for the Safety Control Report, had set a deadline of 15 days to the Captain of the ship as it is now said , to fix the deficiencies .

The deadline expired on Friday, January 2, five full days after the naval tragedy. The existence of the document was revealed on the first day of the accident on Real Radio, and was also presented by Realnews newspaper on Sunday Jan.10.

“Following an inspection E / C / B Norman Atlantic, flag Italy, it has been found that the ship holds no Cooperation plan for Search and Rescue situations (SAR Co-operation Plan) endorsed by your service” .
The cooperation plan for emergency cases is considered essential for Emergency cases when the ship has to cooperate with the Greek Unified Coordination Centre for Search and Rescue. In the case of Norman Atlantic, it was the ultimate lfataliy factor .

On a press conference given by Greek Authorities, the absence of the endorsed cooperation project was reported by the leadership of the Coast Guard as the main cause of loss of valuable time, and consequently, of lives.

“The captain of endangered ship Norman Atlantic is of Italian nationality. Understanding the command of the Unified Coordination Centre for Search and Rescue in the English language was not always effective, having serious delays in the execution and implementation “, declared Rear Admiral of the Coast Guard, Nicholas Patrinos.

But the absence of the cooperation plan was not the only error. The fire doors were not working!

It is such an international ship line. One of the most frequent Greece-Italy ferry trips from Patras to Ancona, one that links the two countries since decades, daily.

Whose responsibility was, finally to let , or not to let the ferry leave the Patras Port?

Human bodies might still be burning next to us, on the live “hell” of that ferry, and nobody gives a damnn

Unexplained the delay of the search of the bodies, unknow still in number

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Brindisi Coast Guard Capt. Mario Valente said Monday that searchers are trying to reach lower decks near the Norman Atlantic ferry’s car deck, where a pre-dawn blaze began Dec. 28 while the ferry sailed from Greece toward Italy. But since then, no news about how many might be missing .

ANEK FERRY SURVIVERS

The fire has claimed at least 11 lives. Greece says as many as 19 people might be unaccounted for; Italy says that figure might be much higher. But the lives over there, the bodies, the mind and souls,  are still unknown. And tragically, … nobody noticed.

Not even the greek media wonder who was who and who might be burning next to us, for more than 11,now, days

In Greece, end of the year 2014  

Since the onboard search began there are  high temperatures have thwarted entry into the vehicle deck

Greece on Friday January 3  indicated as many as 19 people are accounted for, while the Italian prosecutor leading the investigation of the fire said a few days earlier the figure is shockingly  higher.

In addition to known missing, it is possible migrants might have come on board secretly when the ferry left Greek ports, possibly hidden in some of the many trucks transported by the ferry.

Apart from the the cause of the blaze that remains unknon even though the black box has been found,  the investigators also want to know if safety rules were violated, including during evacuation.

Mean while so many evidence has come on light . From the very first days, a report for the Safety qualilfications of Norman Atlantic from the Patras port Inspection of the ship, is revealed that was clearly reporting deficiences on the fiere doors ,  just 9 days before the tagedy, on December 19 Marine engineers and specialists , talking to the media the last days, said that the fire doors  are the basic for the fire not to spread to a ship. Fires do occur in the garage areas of the ships often, they have stated, but they don’t threat the whole

We’ll only have an exact number (of victims) when the wreckage can be inspected,” said Cmdr. Floriana Segreto of the Italian Coast Guard. A sea-and-air search of the water around the ship continued as the ferry was being secured for towing, she said.

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The Italian Coast Guard said 427 people were rescued from the ferry. That figure, plus the 11 dead, would mean at least 438 people had been onboard.

That’s 39 people  less than the 477 people Greek officials said were on the register – leading to questions about Italy’s rescue tally or suggestions the ferry also carried an unknown number of unregistered migrants.

But on Wednesday, December 31, “ninety-eight people were still unaccounted ” Bari prosecutor Giuseppe Volpe was quoted as saying by the ANSA news agency.

It’s not clear if those people ever boarded the ferry – which left Greece on Saturday bound for Italy – if they were rescued, or if they died in the fire or in the sea. Hundreds were rescued in the maritime disaster but the exact number of ferry survivors and how many were on board to begin with are still not known.

Volpe told Sky TG24 TV it was important to have the ferry towed to Italy “to see if there are bodies aboard…to ascertain what caused the fire and to see if safety measures were respected.”

He said until the wreck was examined, he couldn’t venture a possible cause for the blaze.

The Italian captain of the Italian-made ferry, which was operated by a Greek company, was questioned in the southern port of Bari by prosecutors for more than five hours on Wednesday. Since a probe is underway, Volpe would not give any details about the questioning.

Nearly 40 survivors finally stepped ashore on Wednesday in the Italian port of Taranto, brought by one of the cargo ships that rescued passengers from the flaming, smoke-shrouded ferry in the first hours of the maritime disaster. The blaze on the ferry’s car deck sent people scrambling for their lives in the freezing cold, pelted by rain and buffeted by gale-force winds on the uncovered top deck.

Some survivors were taken to Bari, and others were headed to the other Italian port Brindisi, while other rescue ships were directed to Greece, Croatia and Malta, an Italian official said. Hundreds of  passengers — some suffering from hypothermia or smoke inhalation — were taken directly to hospitals on the Italian mainland by helicopter.

Sources: BRINDISI, Italy (AP) and more