Greek Coast Guard officer carries a baby from the Agios Efstratios Coast Guard vessel following a rescue operation at open sea, at the port of the Greek island of Lesbos. REUTERS/Giorgos Moutafis
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By midday, the Agios Efstratios, a gunboat with 29-member crew who work in shifts, had plucked more than 600 people from sea and ferried them to the port of Lesbos, the island on the frontline of Europe's migration crisis.Some EU members have suggested Greece should be suspended from Schengen if it does not improve.Once a dinghy enters Greek territorial waters, the coast guard is obliged to rescue it and transport its passengers to the port.For the crews plying a 250-kilometer-long coastline between Lesbos and Turkey, the numbers attempting the crossing are simply too big to handle.Sofiadelis, the Lesbos commander, said controls should be stepped up on the Turkish side, while Europe should provide assistance with more boats, more staff and better monitoring systems such as radars and night-vision cameras.Frangoulis and his crew – including a seafaring dog picked up at a port years ago – have been at sea for more than 24 hours.Though fewer than 10 nautical miles separate Lesbos from Turkish shores, hundreds of people have drowned trying to make it across.
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