Investigation finds luxury yachts are used to smuggle migrants into EU; 8 Ukrainian smugglers arrested in Italy

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27 July 2017

Italy accused 40 Ukrainian smugglers of transporting illegal migrants

Author: Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard (Stalkerzone)

In Italy law enforcement bodies during two years detained about 40 citizens of Ukraine on suspicion of illegally transporting migrants across the Meditarranean Sea... In May in the material of the British publication The Sunday Times, the journalists of which conducted their own investigation, it was said that the Ukrainian smugglers created a multimillion business for the transportation of migrants from Turkey to Southern Europe on magnificent yachts. 

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23 May 2017

Smugglers offer luxury passage for migrants, if they can pay

Author: Gaia Pianigiani and Lorenzo Tondo (The New York Times)

Since the beginning of the year, the Sicilian authorities have registered 125 migrants who have arrived on yachts and sailboats, mostly piloted by Ukrainian skippers, a lucrative and growing trend. “It is likely that the organization is made up of Turks who use professional Ukrainian skippers, traditionally skilled, for the crossing,” said Francesco Paolo Giordano, the chief prosecutor in Syracuse, who is in charge of the investigations... Since the European Union cut a deal with Ankara in 2016, the numbers of refugees and migrants leaving Turkey in flimsy inflatable boats for the short passage to Greece have dropped sharply. But the crackdown by the Turkish authorities has apparently not discouraged a widening network of hard-pressed but accomplished Ukrainian yachtsmen who ply the narrow Bosporus and are willing to smuggle Afghans, Iraqis, Syrians and others with the means and money. Captured boats have even included trophies and sailing medals.

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14 May 2017

Luxury yachts used to smuggle migrants into EU

Author: Louise Callaghan, The Times

Ukrainian smugglers are running a multimillion-pound network that ferries migrants from Turkey to southern Europe on luxury yachts, an investigation by The Sunday Times has found. More than 2,000 migrants — mostly from the Middle East and south Asia — have paid more than £5,500 a head for the trip from Turkey to Italy since the beginning of last year, according to figures from the Italian authorities and Frontex, the European border agency. In the past month eight Ukrainian people-smugglers have been arrested in southern Sicily after their yachts were intercepted by the Italian coastguard. Another six were arrested in Malta and Crete. Each of the boats they captained had been carrying about 30 migrants from countries including Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Iraq.

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