A Greek frigate has escorted a crippled cargo ship crammed with 700 migrants to the port of Ierapetra in Crete.
Most of the migrants are believed to be from Syria and Afghanistan.
Greek coastguards say the rescue vessel spent 24 hours battling strong winds and heavy seas to bring those on board to safety.
The Red Cross was on hand to assist.
Andreas Mamantopal is from the NGO: “It is the biggest rescue operation for a decade. We have to go back to the 80’s for similar numbers. What makes it different this time and makes the operation difficult are the large numbers of migrants and public health concerns.”
Greece is a popular entry point into Europe from Africa and Asia. However, the Greek government has warned it no longer has the funds or resources to cope with the growing number of migrants entering its waters.