Greek authorities intercept boat carrying migrants to Italy

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ATHENS, Greece — Greece’s coast guard towed a boat carrying 65 asylum-seekers to a port on the country's western coast after it was found to be in distress in the Ionian Sea, authorities said Thursday.

The Migration and Asylum ministry said that 35 of those on board were from Turkey, 15 from Afghanistan, eight from Iraq and seven from Iran.

Fifty-seven had already applied for asylum in Greece, it said, adding that they would be transferred to refugee centres, while those who had no documentation would apply for asylum.

Two people believed to be the boat’s crew members were sent to court.

It was the second case this week of Greek authorities intercepting migrant boats off the western coast of Greece, where they were believed to be heading to neighbouring Italy.

On Wednesday, the coast guard said it received a call about a yacht in distress off the coast of the island of Corfu. Coast guard vessels picked up 25 people, including nine children, from the boat.

The coast guard said the adults were arrested for violating immigration laws, while the children were placed in protective custody. Authorities were searching for three people believed to be part of a migrant smuggling ring.

The Associated Press