More than 1,300 migrants were rescued this Saturday by the Italian coast guard and navy from overloaded boats in the Mediterranean, less than two weeks after a shipwreck off the coast of southern Italy that left more than 70 dead, authorities said. .
Several boats were sent yesterday to help three boats carrying several hundred migrants detected in the central Mediterranean, the world’s most dangerous migration route.
Already at dawn this Saturday, 487 migrants were brought safely to the port of Crotona, according to rescuers. Videos from the Coast Guard showed a portion of them on the deck of a large fishing boat in rough seas.
Another rescue operation, in which 500 migrants were rescued aboard a coast guard ship, was nearing completion, the same source said. The Ansa news agency reported that the boat, in which 584 migrants were traveling, had docked in the port of Reggio Calabria, a coastal city in southern Italy.
A third boat with 379 people was rescued by two coast guard patrol boats and the migrants were transferred to a Navy ship bound for the Sicilian port of Augusta.
These rescue operations were carried out at the same time that the body of fatality number 74 was found – a five to six year old girl – from the shipwreck almost two weeks ago off the coast of Crotona, on the coast southern parts of the country, according to the AGI press agency.
Justice opened an investigation into the tragedy, especially to try to explain the too late arrival of the rescue forces. This shipwreck shocked Italy and sparked sharp criticism of the far-right government of Giorgia Meloni elected by an anti-immigrant hardline, the AFP news agency reported.
According to the Ministry of the Interior, 17,592 people arrived in Italy since January 1, compared to 5,976 in the same period of 2022 and 5,995 in 2021, or almost triple.
According to Frontex, the European Union agency in charge of controls at the bloc’s external borders, the number of migrant arrivals via the central Mediterranean route increased by 116% in January and February compared to 2022.