US Navy rescues 128 Somali migrants near Malta

Rescued migrants are fitted with identity bracelets as they walk to a police bus at the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) Maritime Squadron base at Haywharf in Valletta's Marsamxett Harbour October 17, 2013. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

ROME: A US warship has rescued 128 migrants from an inflatable raft that was threatening to capsize in rough seas in the Mediterranean after a request from Malta, officials said Thursday.

The USS San Antonio, which is equipped with an amphibious transport dock that can help in rescue operations, was scrambled on Wednesday after a Maltese military aircraft spotted the dinghy.

"We successfully transferred 128 men between the ages of 20 and 30 from an inflatable raft on the San Antonio," a US Navy official in Italy told AFP.

"The raft was being rocked by winds and seas and we had expected that overnight the seas would increase. If they were to be left out to sea they would probably be in the water right now," he said.

"We provided food, water, medical attention and temporary shelter," he said.

In a statement the Maltese military claimed that the migrants, who said they were from Somalia, were transferred onto two patrol boats and were being taken back to Malta.

It said they were rescued around 75 nautical miles southwest of Malta.

Italy this week launched a stepped-up navy patrol operation in the Mediterranean to scare off people smugglers and put pressure on Europe for further assistance amid a growing influx of refugees.

More than 400 asylum seekers have drowned this month in two tragedies in the Mediterranean.





Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

Alert: If you are facing problems with posting comments, please note that you must verify your email with Disqus prior to posting a comment. follow this link to make sure your account meets the requirements. (

comments powered by Disqus



Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here