A new tragedy has been avoided in the Mediterranean. More than a thousand migrants were rescued on Saturday by the coast guard and the Italian navy while they were on board overloaded boats. Several ships were dispatched on Friday to come to the aid of three boats carrying spotted in the central Mediterranean.
Early Saturday morning, 487 migrants were brought back safe and sound to the port of Crotone according to several media. Coastguard videos, released on Friday, showed some of them on the deck of a large fishing boat bobbing in rough seas. Another ship carrying 584 migrants has docked in Reggio Calabria, reports the Ansa news agency.
Nearly 18,000 arrivals since January 1
According to the AGI agency, these operations were carried out the very day of the discovery of the body of a young girl, the 74th victim of the deadly shipwreck which occurred ten days ago off Crotone. Justice has opened an investigation into the tragedy, in particular to try to explain the too late arrival of relief.
This shipwreck shocked Italy and sparked strong criticism of the far-right government of Giorgia Meloni, elected on an anti-migrant line. At the end of a Council of Ministers relocated to southern Italy on Thursday, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni reaffirmed her government’s determination to fight against illegal immigration and smugglers.
Since taking office in October 2022, the executive has multiplied the obstacles to humanitarian operations in the Mediterranean, starting a standoff with its European partners to obtain from them more solidarity in the reception of migrants. According to the Interior Ministry, 17,592 people have landed since January 1 in Italy, compared to 5,976 over the same period in 2022 and 5,995 in 2021.