Greeks rescue over 150 illegal immigrants
ATHENS - Agence France-Presse
A North African illegal immigrant eats by railway tracks at his temporary shelter in Athens on Orthodox Good Friday April 13, 2012. REUTERS photoA total of 151 illegal immigrants were rescued Friday from rocky outcrops off Greece's southern coast after their boat ran aground, port authorities said Friday.
Neither their nationalities nor their place of embarkation was immediately known.
The men, in good health, were picked up by a ferry and were being taken to a harbour nearby, port officials said.
The sailing ship transporting the immigrants ran aground off the island of Elafonissos in the early hours of the day, and the men sought refuge on nearby rocks and small islands.
One of them, using a mobile phone, rang a European emergency line to report their position.
Meanwhile, ANA news agency said port authorities in the western city of Patras, from where ferries sail to Italy, Friday arrested a truck driver who carried 19 illegal immigrants in a hidden compartment in his truck.
And a 46-year-old Greek woman was also detained in the western town of Igoumenitsa after hiding an illegal immigrant in her car trunk and another in a large bag, ANA said.
Greece, currently in the throes of an economic crisis, is a major hub for illegal immigration to Europe from Turkey and the Middle East.
Nearly 100,000 people were arrested for illegal entry or residence last year and authorities are currently processing some 30,000 asylum requests by migrants and refugees.