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More than 1,300 migrants brought ashore in Italy after multiple rescues

More than 1,300 migrants brought ashore in Italy after multiple rescues

Italian coast guard and navy vessels have brought hundreds of rescued migrants toward shore.

Elsewhere in the Mediterranean Sea, thousands of migrants overflowed from a shelter on a tiny tourist island.

The arrivals came in the face of a crackdown by Italy’s right-wing government on people smugglers announced only two days earlier.

In a statement, the coast guard said that overcrowding on two vessels and adverse sea and weather conditions had complicated rescue operations that began on Friday in the Ionian Sea off Calabria.

A fishing boat with some 500 migrants entered the southern Italian port of Crotone early this morning


A 94-meter (310-foot) -long coast guard vessel took 584 migrants aboard, while two smaller coast guard motorboats took on 379 and then transferred them to an Italian naval vessel, which was headed to Augusta, a port in eastern Sicily, as migrant shelters in Calabria quickly filled up.

Separately, a boat carrying 487 people, intercepted by Italian vessels some 60 nautical miles (112 kilometers) off Crotone in Calabria on Friday, was aided by two coast guard motorboats and a border police boat.

The news comes after a shipwreck was found on a beach in Cutro, on February 26.

The known death toll from the tragedy climbed to 74 on Saturday, with the body of a young girl the latest to be recovered from the sea.

A picture from a thermal camera showing the boat that later shipwrecked off the Italian shore of Cutro


Eighty passengers survived the shipwreck, but many more were reported missing and are presumed dead.

Meanwhile, on tiny Lampedusa island, an Italian fishing and tourist location south of Sicily, some 3,000 newly arrived migrants overflowed from a shelter meant to hold less than 350.

Hundreds of migrants spent the night sleeping on mattresses on the fenced-off grounds of the shelter.

Plans to ease some of the overcrowding on Lampedusa by transferring hundreds of migrants aboard a ferry were complicated by high winds whipping the island, making it impossible for the ship to dock on Saturday morning.

An Italian Coast Guard officer stands close to a beach near Cutro, southern Italy


Italian media reported that some 140 migrants were then transferred from the island by air.

Authorities on Lampedusa said many of the migrants arriving on the island, which is closer to northern Africa than to the Italian mainland, had sailed from the port of Sfax, in Tunisia, a route increasingly used by smugglers.

The U.N. migration agency estimates some 300 people have died or are missing and presumed dead along the perilous central Mediterranean route this year.

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