Italian Coast Guard rescues 300 migrants from stormy seas

The Italian Coast Guard has rescued more than 300 migrants, most of them young men and boys from Egypt, from a storm-battered boat in waters off the southern “toe” of Italy's mainland

Via AP news wire
Sunday 14 November 2021 13:50

The Italian Coast Guard has rescued more than 300 young men and boys, most of them from Egypt from a storm-battered fishing boat in rough seas off the southern “toe” of Italy’s mainland.

The rescue began Saturday night and ended early Sunday when the 303 migrants, soaked and shivering, stepped on to the port of Roccella Jonica in the the Calabria region.

While most migrants seeking to reach Italy in the central Mediterranean depart from Libya or Tunisia, authorities say an increasing number of traffickers' boats aiming for European shores are plying a route that begins in Turkey and ends at the southern tip of the Italian peninsula.

Those rescued from traffickers' unseaworthy rubber dinghies and wooden boats that depart from North Africa are usually taken to Lampedusa, a tiny Italian island, or to ports in Sicily. But those from Turkey are generally taken to Calabria or Puglia in the “heel” of the Italian mainland.

In Roccella Jonica, Red Cross volunteers early Sunday handed the migrants plastic clogs, blankets, food and protective face masks as part of COVID-19 precautions. Authorities recently set up a tent structure to serve as temporary housing but it's only supposed to hold up to 120 people.

As of Nov. 12, 57,833 migrants have arrived in Italy by sea so far this year.

In 2020, more than 31,000 arrived. In 2019, when anti-migrant leader Matteo Salvini used his post as interior minister to try to thwart charity boats from disembarking people they rescued at sea, just under 10,000 arrived.

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Follow all AP stories on global migration at https://apnews.com/hub/migration.

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