Frontex gives Greece’s Coast Guard airship to monitor migration

Greece will monitor refugees and migrants crossing the Aegean Sea through an unmanned blimp provided by EU border agency Frontex, Greek daily Kathimerini reported on Monday.

The Greek Shipping Ministry announced that the 35-meter airship will be tethered to the ground on Greek island Samos and equipped by radars and thermal cameras to provide real-time monitoring around the clock.

The airship will help detect when traffickers leave the Turkish coast and the Hellenic Coast Guard will inform Turkish officials, resulting in the better protection of Greece’s maritime territory, Alternate Minister of Migration Policy Giorgos Koumoutsakos from the conservative New Democracy (ND) told ANT 1 television.

Samos is one of the islands used most frequently to cross the Aegean Sea in small boats to reach Europe.

According to the UNCHR, 22,401 refugees and migrants arrived by sea to Greece in 2019.

A four-week trial for the blimp is set to begin on Tuesday.