Greece to build 3km floating fence to deter migrants in Aegean Sea

Greece to build 3km floating fence to deter migrants in Aegean Sea
Greece to build 3km floating fence to deter migrants in Aegean Sea

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Greece is planning to build a 2.7 kilometre floating barrier that could be deployed during emergencies to stop migrants making the dangerous journey from Turkey to the Aegean islands.

The barrier, which is likely to be made of netting and be equipped with flashing lights, will rise 50 centimetres above water near the Greek island of Lesbos, being 1.1 metres in total. It is scheduled to be put in place within the next three months.

On Thursday the Greek Defence Ministry published a request for bids from companies that could help build the structure, which has a budget of €500,000 allocated to it. The budget would include four years of maintenance costs.

Defence Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos told the public broadcaster Skai that the project was still in its early stages, adding that it was a move “in the right direction”.

"We want to see if this works, and where and whether it can be implemented," he said.

A spokesperson for the ministry of defence said: “The fence will aim to contain increasing flows.”

Under conservative Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greece has adopted a tougher line on migration. On Tuesday, the government said it wanted to employ an extra 1,200 border police in coming months to help stem the flow of migrants from Turkey. 400 officers are to be sent to the land frontier and 800 to the Aegean islands.

Out of all countries in Europe, Greece has seen the highest number of refugees arrive since the peak of the migration in 2015 and many human traffickers targeting its Aegean islands. There has been a spike in arrivals since April, following a lull of three years, with thousands of migrants arriving from Turkey and the Middle East, as well as North Africa.

At Moria, the largest camp on the island of Lesbos, there are more than 19,000 asylum-seekers living at a facility with capacity for 2,840. Since 2016, Greece has returned all migrants who have had claims for asylum rejected.

Updated: January 30, 2020 09:26 PM

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