Greece sends cruise liner to help Kos island

By ,   August 13, 2015 ,   Cruise Industry

Greece bolstered security at the holiday Kos Island in order to cope with an inflow of refugees on August 12 (Wednesday), a day after frustrated migrants fought with police, and pledged to soothe the plight of the hundreds arriving on the isle daily.

Alekos Flabouraris, Greek Minister of State, said that a cruise ship with a minimum capacity for 2,500 passengers would be dispatched to Kos, which in recent weeks had seen a spike in refugees. The liner is said to be converted into reception center in order to process arrivals. The vessel would dock in the main port of Kos island, the minister said.

Two riot police units from Athens were dispatched to Kos. Police reinforcements from neighboring isles were also drafted in. On August 11 (Tuesday), skirmishes erupted at makeshift reception center at sports stadium. Police used fire extinguishing spray and dispersed people.

Hundreds of migrants, including infants, were penned in at the sports stadium on August 12 (Wednesday), under scorching temperatures, waiting for papers that would allow travel. A witness for Reuters said that those waiting had little water and no food. Scuffles between a group of about 40 people attempting to enter and riot police broke out outside a closed gate of the compound. Police threw a tear gas canister aimed to disperse the group and violently pushed refugees in order to keep them in tightly packed line outside.

According to Flabourasis, the Greek government was doing as much as possible to ease the problems facing island of Kos due to the refugee crisis. Greece, which is mired in its worst economic crisis, has found itself in the spotlight as Europe struggles with a stream of refugees fleeing poverty and war. Tens of thousands have come into Greece from Turkey.

A coastguard spokesperson said that more than 200 migrants had been rescued for 24 hours on the island. However, most arrivals stay undocumented.