A sailing boat transporting 70 irregular migrants and refugees was intercepted in waters southwest of the Ionian island of Kefalonia on Saturday.

The craft was found in a search launched by the Greek coast guard, assisted by a Frontex plane, in response to a distress call made by one of the sailing boat's occupants using a mobile phone. The caller reported that the yacht was sailing adrift after presenting engine problems, without being able to give a precise location.

The migrants and refugees on board were transferred to two coast guard boats but it is not yet clear where they will be taken.