The captain and six crew members of the ‘Haj Zaher’ which put out a distress call on Sunday offshore North Cyprus, have been arrested in Mersin, ‘Yeni Duzen’ reports.
The vessel was carrying around 227 Syrian refugees when it faced difficulties in rough seas off the north shores of Karpaz.
Public Works and Transport Minister Hasan Taçoy confirmed the arrests.
It had been suspected that the captain and crew of the ship were in fact hiding amongst the Syrian migrants, although earlier reports said that they had abandoned ship. After being allowed to rest, the refugees and all crew members were deported back to Mersin.
A source who asked not to be named said that the Tanzanian flagged cargo ship carrying refugees was at Famagusta Port 15 days ago for refuelling, food and other needs and then left for Mersin port where the refugees boarded.