Italian coastguards mobilized to save thousands of migrants

The Italian coast guard is trying Monday to rescue 1,200 migrants crammed aboard two fishing boats in the Mediterranean Sea, after having rescued some 2,000 other people since Friday during various operations.

Operations to rescue 800 migrants from an overcrowded fishing boat were underway, the coast guard said, calling it “complex” due to overcrowding on the boat carrying the migrants.

The boat was located in Italian waters more than 190 km southeast of Syracuse in Sicily.

Coordinated operations

Three coastguard patrol boats and a merchant ship, under the coordination of the coastguard ship “Nave Peluso”, are engaged in the rescue operations.

A second fishing boat carrying 400 migrants was intercepted in Italian waters by the coastguard vessel “Diciotti” southeast of Cape Passero, at the southern tip of Sicily.

Two commercial vessels were involved in the rescue during this operation, according to the coast guard.

“In a state of panic”

Alarm Phone, a hotline for those in distress at sea, tweeted Monday that the migrants on board were “in a state of panic. »

A woman on board said the boat that sailed from Libya no longer has a captain, and several passengers, including a child, a pregnant woman and an invalid, need medical attention, Alarm Phone tweeted on Sunday.

Three panicked people jumped overboard and one lost consciousness.

14,000 migrants landed in Italy in three months

Since Friday, some 2,000 people have already been rescued in multiple operations, the coast guard said.

Thousands of migrants have reached Italian shores, including the shores of the island of Lampedusa in recent days after making the perilous crossing in makeshift boats from North African shores.

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On Sunday, the German NGO ResQship announced that at least two migrants were dead and around twenty others missing after the sinking of their boat between Tunisia and Italy.

ResQship told AFP that it was able to rescue 22 people and transport them to Lampedusa, with the cooperation of the Italian coast guard.

According to the Interior Ministry, more than 14,000 migrants have landed in Italy since the start of the year, compared to just over 5,300 during the same period last year and 4,300 in 2021.

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