by Maria Spiliopoulou
ATHENS, March 7 (Xinhua) -- The Greek Coast Guard rescued 113 migrants from a Maltese-flagged freighter that was sailing adrift 50 km west off the Ionian Sea island of Paxi in western Greece, authorities said on Tuesday.
The ship was no longer in danger and was expected to sail into the nearby Patras port on Wednesday morning escorted by Greek Coast vessels, Greek national news agency AMNA reported.
The migrants will be held at Patras temporarily.
One of the migrants had managed to call the European emergency number asking for help, as winds up to six on the Beaufort scale were blowing in the area.
No details on the vessel's itinerary have yet been disclosed.
Following the EU-Turkey deal launched in March 2016 to stem the flow of refugees and migrants from Turkish shores to the Greek Aegean Sea islands, people smugglers have shifted their focus to alternate routes.
Since 2015, more than 1 million refugees and migrants entered Europe via the Aegean Sea. Since the winter of 2016, after the gradual closure of the Balkan route to central Europe, more than 62,000 people have been stranded in Greece.