More than 1,000 migrants aboard migrant boats in distress in the Mediterranean were rescued and brought to Italian ports.
On Saturday, March 11, Italian coast guards rescued more than 1,000 migrants aboard three boats stranded at sea. These boats were in dire straits in the rough seas of Calabria. An Italian coast guard boat brought 584 people ashore in Reggio Calabria, while 487 migrants were taken to the port of Crotone. It is near the same area where a boat capsized on February 26, killing 74 people, including more than a dozen Pakistani nationals. According to local authorities, 200 people have also been rescued from the sea off the coast of Sicily and are being transported to Catania today. More than 4,000 migrants have arrived in Italy illegally since Wednesday. In the entire month of March last year, the number of such immigrants was 1300.
According to news agency AGI, the rescue operation took place on the same day that the body of the 74th victim of the boat accident, a girl between the ages of five and six, was found almost two weeks ago.
After the February 26 shipwreck, the right-wing government led by Prime Minister Giorgio Meloni has been criticized for failing to take timely and effective measures to save the boat.
Videos released by the Coast Guard late Friday night showed a large fishing boat reeling in rough seas with dozens of people on its deck. At the same time, a “tuck boat” was seen doing the work of towing the boat.
It was not immediately clear what the condition of the third boat identified by the Coast Guard on Friday was. In recent days, a spate of ships trying to reach the Italian coast through the Mediterranean has forced the Roman government to defend itself.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Maloney convened a cabinet meeting in Kotro, near the site of the boat disaster, and announced a new decree that included tougher prison sentences for people smugglers, but the government’s decisions to save migrants’ lives have been slow. No new support measures have been added.
Meanwhile, the Italian Ministry of Interior has said in a statement that more than 17,500 people have reached Italy by sea so far this year. This number is almost three times higher than the same period last year.