BEIRUT

World

Italian navy picks up 730 migrants in overcrowded boats off Sicily

In this photo released by the Italian Navy Thursday, March 27, 2014, migrants stand on a boat as two Italian navy dinghies and a ship approach to give assistance, in the waters off Capo Passero, Sicily. (AP Photo/Italian Navy)

ROME: The Italian navy rescued 730 people aboard two overcrowded boats in the Mediterranean Sea south of Sicily, officials said on Wednesday, as the numbers of migrant boats crossing from North Africa surges in the mild spring weather.

The migrants, including 124 women and 29 children, were taken aboard the amphibious assault ship San Giorgio and another vessel late on Tuesday and early on Wednesday, a navy statement said. They were being taken to a port in Sicily.

Calm sea conditions saw more than 4,000 migrants rescued from the seas off Italy over four days late last month.

Italy is a major gateway into Europe for migrants who come by sea from North Africa. The number of arrivals tripled to more than 40,000 in 2013 from the previous year, fuelled by Syria's civil war and conflict in the Horn of Africa.

In October, at least 366 Eritreans drowned in a shipwreck near the shore of the Italian island of Lampedusa, about halfway between Sicily and Tunisia. More than 200, mostly Syrians, died in another shipwreck a week later.

The shipwrecks prompted the government to put its navy on permanent mission in the waters between Sicily and North Africa. Italy has repeatedly asked the EU to take on a greater role in policing its seas because two-thirds of the migrants move on to other countries in the region after being rescued.

 

Recommended

Advertisement

Comments

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. (http://bit.ly/vDisqus)

comments powered by Disqus
Summary

The Italian navy rescued 730 people aboard two overcrowded boats in the Mediterranean Sea south of Sicily, officials said on Wednesday, as the numbers of migrant boats crossing from North Africa surges in the mild spring weather.

The migrants, including 124 women and 29 children, were taken aboard the amphibious assault ship San Giorgio and another vessel late on Tuesday and early on Wednesday, a navy statement said.

Calm sea conditions saw more than 4,000 migrants rescued from the seas off Italy over four days late last month.


Advertisement

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE

Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here