Press Release

Investigation evidences involvement of the Hellenic Coast Guard in maritime pushbacks

Video analysis shows masked men in HCG uniform on-board an HCG ship

Published on:
August 21, 2020

Josoor has obtained videos of one particularpushback incident on the Aegean Sea in July 2020. A subsequent investigationcarried out by Josoor and No Name Kitchen on behalf of BVMN has revealedevidence which points to strong conclusions of the involvement of the HellenicCoast Guard in this illegal practice.


These videos, filmed on July 11th and shared withJosoor on the same day, show masked men on a vessel approaching a dingy filledwith women and children. The individual who shared the videos reported havingdone so whilst on-board the dingy, which was subsequently pushed back to Turkeywhere the occupants were detained.


Through open source techniques such as geolocatingthe video using topographic satellite renders, stitching together the screenwith compiled images, and conducting research on the origins of the vessel, theinvestigation was able to produce a far more complex and detailed account ofthe event. First, the vessel was established as being on the Aegean between Mytilene,Greece and Diliki, Turkey. Then it was identified as the Hellenic Coast Guard’sΛΣ-618 Faiakas-class fast patrol craft. In turn,there were strong suggestions from an analysis of the uniforms worn byindividuals onboard the vessel, that the men seen in the video were acting inan official capacity as crew members. Video evidence shows that refugee dinghyshown in the video had its motor smashed and was set adrift in the Aegean afterthis incident with the HCG.


A worrying implication of the investigation is thefinding that the European Commission’s External Borders Fund was used to cover75% of the cost of the purchase of this vessel for the HCG. The pushbackoperation taking place in the videos violates Articles 18 and 19 of the EUCharter of Fundamental Rights; the right to asylum and the prohibition ofcollective expulsions respectively. This only serves to reiterate calls fromthe Border Violence Monitoring Network for the EU to establish improvedmonitoring and accountability mechanisms for violations of human rights withinits Member States.


You can find the full investigation here: