More than 1,400 migrants were brought ashore in three different operations in Italy, authorities said Saturday.
The Italian coast guard announcement comes just two weeks after a ship carrying approximately 180 migrants crashed off Italy’s southern coast after sailing from Turkey, killing at least 74 people, including 14 children.
Italian authorities said Rescue operations began on Friday. in the waters of Calabria in southern Italy.
A 310-foot coast guard vessel took 584 migrants on board, while 379 migrants were rescued by two coast guard motorboats and then taken to an Italian naval vessel headed for a port in the east. from Sicily, the coast guard said in a statement.
In a separate operation, Italian authorities intercepted a ship carrying 487 people approximately 60 nautical miles (69 miles) off Crotone, a Calabrian port city. The migrants landed in Crotone on Saturday morning.
The rescues were “complex” due to the overcrowding of the boats, as well as unfavorable weather conditions, the Italian coast guard said.
The recent surge in the arrival of migrants from North Africa and Turkey comes just days after Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni announced that the right-wing government would crack down on people smugglers.
On Thursday, as protesters took to the streets to express their outrage over the administration’s immigration policies, Italian lawmakers passed tougher laws against smugglers, including prison terms of up to 30 years.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, almost 1,400 migrants died or disappeared while crossing the dangerous central Mediterranean route last year.
This year, the agency estimates that some 300 people have lost their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean and reach Europe.
with cable news services