- Title: Over 11,000 migrants rescued off Libya this week
- Date: 6th October 2016
- Summary: AUGUSTA, ITALY (OCTOBER 6, 2016) (REUTERS) ITALIAN NAVY SHIP LIBRA AT DOCK MIGRANTS SITTING ON DOCK VARIOUS OF MIGRANT ON STRETCHER BEING CARRIED OFF SHIP VERY WEAK MIGRANT BEING CARRIED ON SHOULDERS BY RESCUERS VARIOUS OF MIGRANTS IN QUEUE VARIOUS OF MIGRANTS SITTING ON DOCK MIGRANT ON STRETCHER VARIOUS OF MIGRANTS SITTING ON DOCK MIGRANT IN WHEELCHAIR VARIOUS OF MIGRANTS BEING LED AWAY FROM PORT (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) COMMANDER OF ITALIAN NAVY SHIP, LUIS FINO, SAYING: ''When we arrived we found a fairly tragic situation, with many vessels in the sea. Among them was a fishing boat, at least six rubber boats and a life-raft with people on board. From that moment, we started our rescue operation, together with the Astral NGO ship that was already there. We kept going until darkness fell and other naval assets came to our help.''
- Embargoed: 21st October 2016 15:36
- Keywords: migrant boat rescue refugees Italy Augusta coast guard
- Location: AT SEA AND AUGUSTA, ITALY
- City: AT SEA AND AUGUSTA, ITALY
- Country: Italy
- Topics: Asylum/Immigration/Refugees,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00152VBY2V
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Over 1,000 migrants were rescued at sea off the Italian coast on Thursday (October 6) morning and taken to the Sicilian port of Augusta.
The commander of an Italian navy ship that took part in the rescue operation, Luis Fino, said his team had had a tough job to do.
''When we arrived we found a fairly tragic situation, with many vessels in the sea. Among them was a fishing boat, at least six rubber boats and a life-raft with people on board. From that moment, we started our rescue operation, together with the Astral NGO ship that was already there. We kept going until darkness fell and other naval assets came to our help," he said.
On Tuesday (October 4) and Wednesday (October 5), over 5,000 were saved and 28 bodies recovered, bringing the total number of people rescued this week to more than 11,000, Italy's coast guard said.
More than 20 people were reported to have suffocated in the hold of one overloaded fishing boat, bringing the total death toll for Monday (October 3) and Tuesday to 50.
Italian officials said three women saved on Monday had given birth over the past 24 hours on a coast guard vessel that was bringing some 1,000 refugees to Sicily. The women and their three children were all reported to be in good health.
The coast guard said the 4,655 migrants rescued on Tuesday were taken from 33 overcrowded boats, including 27 rubber dinghies and one wooden boat that was believed to have been carrying around 1,000 people.
At its closest, Libya is 290 km (180 miles) from the Italian island of Lampedusa and people smugglers have taken advantage of the chaos in the north African state to use it as their main staging post in the region for journeys to Europe.
The vast majority of refugees come from Africa, including Nigeria, Eritrea, Guinea, Gambia, Sudan, Ivory Coast and Somalia.
The migrants are brought to Italy, where EU and Italian officials work together to identify and fingerprint them.
European law says migrants must stay in the country where they first enter the bloc and Italy is increasingly struggling to deal with the growing numbers.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None