Despite a two-year deal between the European Union and Turkey created to stop migrants and refugees from pouring into Europe from the Turkish coast to nearby Greek islands, dozens and sometimes hundreds of people still make the journey each week.
Vistas said that while all efforts were now focused on the search and rescue operation, "it is clear that the solution is in (providing) measures for the protection of people" and in providing safe procedures for refugees and migrants while also cracking down on smuggling rings.
He said the solution to the problem is providing safe procedures for refugees and migrants while also cracking down on smuggling rings.
It's after sixteen migrants drowned at the weekend in the Aegean Sea, 5 of whom were children.
This migrant death toll is one of the highest since the mass migrant exodus from Turkey to Greece began three years ago.
The boat, with about twenty migrants and refugees on board, had just set out from the Turkish mainland when it overturned off the Greek island of Agathonisi.
The number dwindled to 204,700 from 1.8 million in 2015, it said.
A patrol boat, a military helicopter and three fishing vessels are taking part in the rescue operation and officials are waiting for reinforcements from Frontex, the European border agency.
The EU-Turkey deal has been criticised by humanitarian groups as deterring people who under global law must be granted asylum, such as those fleeing war-torn countries like Syria.
Thousands of protesters, many of them migrants stranded in Greece, took to the streets of Athens to march against racism. These include both refugees fleeing conflict and persecution as well as economic migrants.