April 1, 2023

The coastguard says it’s wrapping up a big rescue operation that started after three boats had been noticed drifting off Italy’s coasts.

Greater than 1,000 individuals have been dropped at security at two Italian ports after the overcrowded boats they had been on encountered issues within the Mediterranean, the Italian coastguard has mentioned, nearly two weeks after a minimum of 74 individuals died in a shipwreck.

The coastguard mentioned on Saturday it was wrapping up a giant rescue operation that started Friday after three boats had been noticed drifting off Italy’s coasts. One was south of the Calabrian metropolis of Crotone and two additional south, off Roccella Ionica.

Coastguard movies confirmed a big fishing boat pitching violently forwards and backwards in nighttime tough seas with dozens of individuals seen on the deck. Different photos confirmed inflatable rescue boats approaching one other fishing vessel filled with individuals.

A number of operations

The coastguard mentioned 487 individuals on board the primary boat had been safely dropped at the port of Crotone at about 02:00 GMT on Saturday morning.

One other rescue operation wherein 500 individuals had been dropped at security on board a coastguard ship was wrapping up, it mentioned. Information company ANSA had earlier reported that the ship had docked on the port of Reggio Calabria.

A 3rd boat carrying 379 individuals was rescued by two coastguard patrol boats and the refugees transferred to a navy ship headed to the Sicilian port of Augusta, it mentioned.

shipwreck investigation

The physique of a younger woman was recovered on Saturday near the place the shipwreck occurred on February 26, bringing the loss of life toll from that catastrophe to 74. Seventy-nine individuals survived the shipwreck, however roughly 30 are nonetheless lacking, presumed lifeless.

In all, the United Nations has estimated 300 refugees have died within the central Mediterranean to this point this yr.

The best-wing authorities led by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has drawn sharp criticism for failing to intervene in a well timed method to save lots of the February 26 shipwreck, which occurred simply off the shore of Calabria.

Prosecutors are investigating whether or not Italian authorities ought to have executed extra to forestall the catastrophe. Meloni has rejected the suggestion and seemed to pin the blame fully on human traffickers.

On Thursday, Meloni held a cupboard assembly at Cutro, close to the catastrophe web site, and introduced a brand new decree that included stiffer jail sentences for human traffickers, however no new measures to assist save lives.

Her far-right Brothers of Italy social gathering, which gained elections final yr, had promised to curb arrivals, however Italy has lately seen a pointy rise within the variety of refugees trying to succeed in its shores through the harmful Mediterranean crossing.

The inside ministry says greater than 17,500 individuals have arrived by sea to this point this yr – nearly thrice the quantity for a similar interval final yr.

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