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EU watchdog probes Frontex’s action in Greece boat tragedy | European Union News

Weeks after the shipwreck off Greece by which a whole bunch of individuals died, bloc steps up efforts to analyze catastrophe.

The European Union watchdog has introduced a probe into the bloc’s border patrol company, Frontex, over its actions throughout a lethal shipwreck off Greece.

The investigation is “geared toward clarifying Frontex’s function in search and rescue operations within the Mediterranean sea following the drowning of a whole bunch of individuals off the coast of Greece on 14 June”, Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly stated in a press release on Wednesday.

The impartial probe by the European Ombudsman, which appears into suspected instances of poor administration by EU our bodies, was launched on O’Reilly’s initiative.

It provides to 2 investigations Greece says it has began: a legal one into alleged smugglers it blames for the tragedy, and one other into the actions of its coastguard.

The boat that sank, an overcrowded fishing trawler, was carrying as much as 750 individuals picked up in Libya who sought to cross the Mediterranean to irregularly enter Europe.

About 100 of them had been saved, however it’s thought that some 600 drowned, in line with Greek figures relayed by EU Commissioner Ylva Johansson to the European Parliament in early July.

EU politicians in that listening to expressed scepticism that the Greek probes into the sinking could be adequately carried out. They known as for an impartial and clear investigation and O’Reilly stated her workplace’s investigation could be carried out in coordination with the Greek Ombudsman Andreas Pottakis.

Athens has already rejected survivors’ accounts that the Greek coastguard tied a rope to the drifting vessel after which powered off, inflicting it to capsize.

It is going to request a “big selection” of Frontex paperwork on the sinking, together with an inner critical incident report, in addition to these associated to different incidents within the Mediterranean.

“A tragedy of this magnitude requires all these concerned to replicate on their tasks and to be clear to the general public who’s accountable for these deaths,” stated O’Reilly.

Shipboard cameras

One facet of the investigation will concentrate on guidelines about the usage of cameras on boats throughout joint operations.

That would yield info as to why state-of-the-art cameras on a Greek coastguard vessel close to the boat had been switched off on the time of its sinking.

The probe would additionally study how Frontex and nationwide authorities in EU member states share search and rescue info, and what function they provide to ships run by charities that perform rescue operations.

The investigation can even weigh how the EU lives as much as its commitments on sustaining basic rights with regards to migration “and doesn’t lose sight of the human struggling that compels individuals to hunt a greater life past their residence nations”, she added.

Frontex chief Hans Leijtens, who appeared in the identical July 6 European Parliament listening to as Johansson, stated that on the night time of the sinking, “we supplied to assist, however there was no response from Greek authorities”.

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