Greek authorities say they are planning to use a ferry currently docked at the island of Kos to transport up to 2,500 migrants to a northern port.

The Greek Merchant Marine Ministry said Tuesday the Eleftherios Venizelos is expected to leave Kos by Wednesday morning to travel to Thessaloniki. The ferry, which has served as a temporary migrant screening center, has about 1,700 people on board and will pick up hundreds more from other islands on the way.

From Thessaloniki, the migrants can continue their odyssey toward asylum in wealthier European countries, travelling through the Balkans.

Greece has seen record refugee arrivals this year, most of them from war-torn Syria. Thousands are stuck on islands waiting for ferries, as tickets are scarce at the height of the holiday season.