Cyprus cruise liner helps rescue 300 refugees

A cruise liner was diverted off Cyprus on Thursday to rescue about 300 people thought to be Syrian refugees.

Their trawler ran into trouble in rough seas.

The trawler, crammed with mainly women and children, had sent out “a radio distress signal” at 6.25 am (11.25am, Singapore time) when it was about 50 nautical miles southwest of the tourist hub of Paphos, the Cypriot government said.

The government said in a statement that the ship probably “came from Syria with civilian refugees”.

Aerial photographs released by the ministry showed a large fishing trawler overloaded with people in heavy seas.

Based on marine traffic data, two vessels were diverted to the distressed boat: the 157m Cypriot cruise ship the Salamis Filoxenia and the Maltese-flagged tanker the Minerva Joy.

Medical supplies

The Salamis Filoxenia had been en route from the Greek island of Syros to the Cypriot port of Limassol at the time it received a call to assist in the rescue operation, according to the data.

Its operator said later that the cruise liner’s crew was taking on board those from the stricken trawler.

The staff were providing medical supplies, food and water and blankets, Salamis Cruise Lines managing director Kikis Vasiliou told the radio.

Source: AFP