The project for a floating barrier of almost 3 kilometres long and over a metre high off the Greek island of Lesbos is in its final phase, according to the Greek Ministry of Defence.
The floating barrier will be installed in the north-east of the island, where since 2015 hundreds of thousands of refugees have crossed the Aegean Sea in overcrowded canoes to reach Greece and Europe.
The Greek government launched a call for tenders on 29 January. The cost of the design, installation and maintenance for four years was estimated at €500,000.
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The project sparked the concern of NGOs. “This plan raises worrying questions about the possibility of rescuers continuing to provide assistance to people attempting the dangerous crossing of the sea,” Amnesty International said.
With the coronavirus crisis, arrivals on the islands across from Turkey have decreased drastically. Since April, only 350 people have arrived on the island of Lesbos.
That said, more than 33,000 asylum seekers are living in five camps on the Aegean islands, with a capacity of only 5,400 people, and some 70,000 more in other facilities on the mainland.
The Brussels Times