Guardia Costiera, Italian Coastguard, rescues migrants

1200 migrants adrift as Italian Coastguard work to rescue them


The Italian coastguard is working to rescue 1,200 people aboard two boats at sea. Both vessels are in trouble.

One of the boats carrying 400 people was previously reported to be taking on water. The people on board were described as in “imminent danger of death”. German NGO Sea-Watch International spotted the fishing from a plane.

It had set off from Tobruk in Libya but has been adrift at sea.

Second boat in danger 120 miles off Sicily

The other rescue operation was to help a boat carrying 800 people located over 120 miles southeast of Siracusa, in Sicily. The Italian Coastguard said in a statement that the rescue operation was hampered by the number of people on board and the distance from the coast.

The rescues would take hours to complete, a coastguard spokesperson said.

Surge in numbers over Easter weekend

The Italian coastguard had already rescued around 2,000 migrants since Friday.

Another NGO, Germany’s Resqship, said on Sunday it helped a wreck on Saturday. The organisation found about 25 people in the water, who said they had been there for two hours.

“Our crew was able to recover 22 survivors and two deceased,” the aid group tweeted. Survivors claim around another 20 people had drowned.

The ship was allocated the Italian island of Lampedusa for disembarkation of the rescued.

“We are angry. This is an unspeakable tragedy that could – and should – have been prevented by a humanitarian approach to migration instead of barb-wiring the European borders,” ResQship said.

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