Cyprus on alert after record migrant arrival

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The Cyprus authorities are on high alert due to fears of a potential surge in migrant arrivals by sea from Lebanon and Syria, following the largest arrival recorded in recent years on Monday.

A total of six boats carrying 458 migrants onboard were spotted on Monday, with authorities saying that measures are being taken at various levels to prevent further influxes.

According to a police report, the first boat was carrying a total of 30 people: 18 men, 3 women, 7 children, and 2 unaccompanied children.

Onboard the second boat, there were 24 individuals: 14 men, 3 women, 5 children, and 2 unaccompanied. The third boat had 62 people: 36 men, 6 women, 11 children, and 9 unaccompanied children.

The fourth boat had 37 individuals: 14 men, 4 women, 18 children, and 1 unaccompanied child. The fifth boat had 22 people: 14 men, 1 woman, 3 children, and 4 unaccompanied children. In the sixth boat, there were 283 individuals: 162 men, 27 women, 79 children, and 15 unaccompanied children.

Police have made two arrests so far, a 31-year-old from Lebanon and a 23-year-old from Syria, who are alleged to be navigating the boat with 283 individuals. The suspects appeared before the Famagusta District Court on Tuesday, where they were detained for eight days.

The six boats were detected off Cape Greco by the Republic of Cyprus radars on Monday afternoon. Four Coast Guard and Naval Police vessels were immediately mobilised.

After a lengthy operation, the migrants were gradually transported to the Ayia Napa Marina.

During their statements to the police, migrants reported that the six vessels departed from the shores of Lebanon, and each person paid $2,500-3,000 to unknown people.