Friday, 5 December 2014

17 dead in migrant ship off Libya

Sixteen people died on a rubber dinghy carrying migrants from Libya to Italy, Italian authorities said Friday, after they rescued a total of 278 people in three sea operations.

The victims were found Thursday by two coast guard patrols and a private tug boat, along with 76 survivors, the Italian navy said in a statement.

The navy said the 16 migrants were already dead when the dinghy was found, presumably from hypothermia and dehydration.

Another migrant died of a pulmonary embolism shortly after rescue crews reached the rubber boat Thursday, and yet another was airlifted in critical condition to a hospital on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa to be treated for hypothermia, the navy said in a statement.

The bodies were expected to arrive in Sicily‘s Porto Empedocle later on Friday.

Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, speaking from Brussels, said the incident took place about 75 kilometres from Libyan shores and 185 kilometres south of Lampedusa - Italy‘s southern outpost in the Mediterranean.

Navy patrols intercepted two other dinghies on Thursday, rescuing 100 and 102 migrants respectively.

Another migrant died of a pulmonary embolism shortly after rescue crews reached the rubber boat Thursday.

Seventy-four survivors were heading toward Port Empedocle aboard the Navy ship Etna, which picked them up at sea.

The EU operation, launched last month after Italy phased out its more robust rescue program, foresees patrols 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the Italian coast. The Italian-run Mare Nostrum rescue operation had patrolled waters much closer to Libya.

Human rights organizations have criticised Italy for its decision to scale down its Mare Nostrum rescue mission in the Mediterranean following the November 1 launch of a parallel EU sea patrol operation, Triton, which has a smaller remit.

Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni stressed that, despite plans to wind down Mare Nostrum completely, Italian authorities would continue to step in in emergency situations.

Gentiloni stressed that even with the more limited EU patrols, Italian ships would still intervene to help those in need.

Friday 5 December 2014


Post a Comment