Boats carrying more than 200 refugees were stopped by the Romanian Coastguard on Saturday, according to reports in Austrian and Romanian publications. According to those, a boat with 97 asylum seekers, including 36 children, who said they were Iranian and Iraqi, was located close to the Bulgarian border, in Romanian waters.
The Coastguard lead the boat into the port of Mangalia, where the Romanian authorities set up tents. At that location, the refugees underwent medical checks. They also received food and beverages, before they were taken to a refugee camp.
Just hours before, the Romanian Coastguard had intercepted a fishing boat carrying 120 in international waters. In this case, the Turkish authorities sent two boats, which brought the migrants back to Turkey.
Since the route via the Mediterranean is increasingly difficult to pass and the so-called Balkan route is effectively closed, people smugglers seem to be setting up a new Black Sea route.
So far, relatively few refugees had tried to enter Romania by crossing the Danube river. In the past year, several migrants, including children, have drowned while trying.
The authorities in the country have caught 2,800 so-called “illegal migrants” during the first seven months of this year. According to a press release by the Border Police in Bucharest, the regugees were “organised in 416 migrant groups , in which 170 facilitators were identified”.
Because of the increased numbers of refugees, the Romanian Border Police announced it wanted to “increase the citizens’ safety and to fight effectively cross-border crime”. By the latter, they also meant the smuggling of illegal cigarettes and counterfeit. The new measures include the purchase of more technical equipment and the employment of more border guards.