The Italian Coast Guard safely brought to shore more than 600 migrants from stormy seas. Many of them were young men or boys from Egypt.
One rescue began Saturday night and ended early Sunday when 303 migrants arrived at port of Roccella Jonica in the the Calabria region.
Human traffickers are increasingly using a new route. Most migrants seeking to reach Italy in the central Mediterranean depart from Libya or Tunisia. However, authorities say an increasing number of traffickers’ boats are plying a route that begins in Turkey and ends at the southern tip of the Italian peninsula.
Later on Sunday, an Italian customs police boat spotted another fishing vessel in difficulty off Calabria. Italian coast guard crews ferried 250 migrants to the same port, Associated Press journalists in Roccella Jonica reported.
Red Cross volunteers early Sunday handed the migrants plastic clogs, blankets, food and protective face masks. Authorities recently set up a tent structure to serve as temporary housing but there is only enough room for 120 people. As a result, some of the migrants are now in other shelters.
The charity Resqship tweeted Sunday that after it alerted authorities about an overcrowded wooden boat with 100 migrants south of Lampedusa, the Italian coast vessel evacuated them to safety.
Number of migrants rising
As of 12th November 12, 57,833 migrants had arrived in Italy by sea in 2021. Last year, there were over 31,000. In 2019, Matteo Salvini as Interior Minister, tried to thwart charity ships from docking at Italian prts and disembarking migrants. That year, fewer than 10,000 migrants arrived.
Salvini is currently on trial for abduction. It relates to his refusal to allow a charity ship to dock in Italy. Richard Gere is one of the witnesses at the trial.