Migrants aboard an Italian Coast Guard ship arrive at Pozzallo’s harbor near Ragusa, Sicily. Photo / AP
The Italian coastguard says it has co-ordinated the rescue of
about 4200 migrants sailing across the Mediterranean Sea but also found
17 corpses on several of the rickety boats.
Distress calls were also made from 22 different boats on Friday, many off Libya but also off the southern Italian coast.
total number of people rescued in 24 hours is one of the highest in
recent years but the coastguard could not confirm if it was a record.
So far, the busiest days this year have been the rescue of 3791 migrants on April 12 and 3690 on May 2.
17 bodies were found on three inflatable dinghies, from which more than
300 other migrants were rescued alive, the Italian navy said.
rescue operations on Friday were led by the Italian coastguard and
included the help of Italian, German and Irish naval ships working under
the auspices of the EU’s Frontex border agency.
In a similar international maritime rescue mission on
Thursday more than 700 migrants were helped to safety off the coast of
Sicily after they had set sail from Libya in six boats.
more than 40,400 boat migrants – many of them fleeing conflict and
poverty in countries such as Syria and Eritrea – have arrived in Italy
since the start of the year, similar to the same period last year.
far this year, about 1770 migrants have perished on the hazardous
journey to Europe, according to a latest International Organisation for
Migration report which does not include Friday’s rescue.