© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Italian Coast Guard Rescues Over 3000 Migrants From Sea
The Italian coast guard on Saturday announced that 16 of its vessels had rescued 3,427 people at a sea point off Libya in an operation coordinated from its headquarters in Rome.
A French patrol ship, Commandant Birot, which was sent to aid EU patrol teams to deal with the influx of migrant boats in the Mediterranean, also picked up 217 people off the coast of Libya the same day.
It would be recalled that the Italian coast guard had rescued 3,791 migrants on April 12 and another 2,850 the following day.
The migrants rescued in the latest case had been on board three boats, the authorities said. Two alleged smugglers were also caught and would be handed over to Italian police.
Authorities said that in addition to the French patrol boat, the rescue operation mobilized four Italian coast guard ships, two Italian navy vessels, two cargo ships, two Italian customs ships and two tugs.
The Italian Navy also said on its Twitter page that the frigate, Bersagliere, had rescued 778 migrants while the patrol boat, Vega, had picked up another 675.
Some of the rescued migrants were expected to spend the night on the Italian island of Lampedusa, near the African coast. Others are expected to arrive in Sicily or Southern Italy on Sunday night.
According to the Italian coast guard, the French patrol vessel should land its migrants at a port in Calabria.
Europe is currently seeking for innovative ways to deal with a massive number of people trying to reach its shores following a series of deadly shipwrecks recorded in recent weeks.