Italy Coast Guard Battles to Rescue Thousands of Migrants at Sea

Mon Apr 10 2023
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ROME: Italy’s coast guard has been working tirelessly to rescue thousands of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa in overcrowded and flimsy vessels.

Over the weekend, the coast guard saved around 2,000 migrants and is now attempting to rescue an additional 1,200 aboard two more boats.

The rescue operation for about 800 migrants aboard an overloaded fishing boat is ongoing and has been described as complex due to overcrowding. The boat was located in Italian waters more than 120 miles southeast of Syracuse, in Sicily.

Another fishing vessel carrying 400 migrants was also intercepted by the coast guard ship “Diciotti” 170 miles southeast of Capo Passero, at the southernmost tip of Sicily.

According to the hotline used by migrants in distress, Alarm Phone, the people onboard are in panic, and several people require medical care, including a pregnant woman, a child, and a disabled person. Three people in distress had jumped overboard, and one fell unconscious.

The coast guard has stated that, in addition to the ongoing operations, about 2,000 people have been saved since Friday in “a large number of rescues.”

Thousands of migrants landed on Italy’s shores

Thousands of migrants have landed on Italy’s shores, particularly on the island of Lampedusa, in recent days after making the dangerous journey aboard flimsy vessels from North Africa.

However, the journey is not always successful, with at least two migrants reported dead and around 20 others missing after their vessel sank overnight on Saturday to Sunday after leaving Tunisia.

German aid group ResQship rescued 22 people from the shipwreck and took them to Lampedusa, assisted by “good cooperation” with the Italian coastguard.

The interior ministry figures revealed that over 14,000 migrants have arrived in Italy since the beginning of the year, significantly more than the 5,300 who arrived over the same period in 2022 and the 4,300 during 2021.

With many more migrants attempting the treacherous journey, the Italian coast guard’s work is more critical than ever.

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