Saturday, 30 May 2015

Italy rescues 4,200 boat migrants in Mediterranean on Friday, 17 die

More than 4,200 migrants and refugees have been rescued in the past 24 hours in the Mediterranean during 22 separate operations carried out by naval vessels and merchant ships.

The operations were coordinated by the Italian Coast Guard from its national rescue centre in Rome and involved 4,243 people being rescued from nine boats and 13 large rubber dinghies.

Seventeen dead bodies were found on one of the dinghies – migrants who had reportedly died of exhaustion, thirst, exposure, or a mixture of all three.

All the rescues were carried out in the southern Mediterranean, off the coast of Libya, as the refugees tried to reach Italian shores.

The multiple rescues represented “a complex scenario which required the involvement of numerous naval units from the Coast Guard, the Italian navy, the Guardia di Finanza (a frontier police force) and the Irish and German navies, as well as several merchant ships which were diverted by the national rescue centre,” the Coast Guard said in a statement on Saturday.

Around 250 of the migrants were rescued by a Belgian ship, which went to the aid of a smuggling boat after its engine stopped working and it started drifting.

The Belgian, German and Irish ships have been deployed to the Mediterranean as part of an expanded search and rescue operation which was ordered by the EU a few weeks ago after the Mediterranean’s worst tragedy for decades, when a fishing vessel packed with an estimated 800 migrants capsized. Only 28 people survived the disaster.

An Irish ship was heading to the port of Palermo in Sicily with 410 rescued refugees on board.

More than 40,000 migrants and asylum seekers have reached Italy so far this year. An estimated 1,800, including women and children, lost their lives during the journey.

Many of them are fleeing war, civil conflict and persecution in countries such as Syria, Eritrea, Mali and Nigeria.

The EU is planning to take military action against people smugglers operating along the coast of Libya, in a campaign that could begin in June.

Saturday 30 May 2015


Post a Comment