Migrants smuggled in 'ghost ships'

Refugees and migrants disembark from a dinghy at the Greek island of Lesbos. (Santi Palacios)
Refugees and migrants disembark from a dinghy at the Greek island of Lesbos. (Santi Palacios)

Potsdam - Investigators in Germany and Turkey have busted a trafficking ring supposed to have smuggled 1 766 migrants across the Mediterranean in ramshackle boats, the German federal police said in Postdam on Wednesday.

Five suspected traffickers were arrested during raids in six German states, according to the police. Numerous suspects had also been arrested in Turkey.

For a payment of several thousand dollars, the suspected traffickers are believed to have smuggled migrants across the sea in so-called "ghost ships" before leaving them to their own devices.

The police described the traffickers' actions as inhuman.

"In a particularly perfidious case, the ship's autopilot had been set for the Italian coast before the crew left the pilot's bridge," police said.

Among the investigators involved in the operation were the German federal police, the Turkish national police as well as German special units.

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