Italian ships have recovered five bodies and rescued 674 people crammed on a fishing boat adrift in the Mediterranean off the coast of Libya, the Italian coastguard said on Sunday, while European charities reported saving at least another 500.
Some of the survivors had to be snatched from the sea during the Italian operation carried out on Saturday 190 kilometers off Calabria by a navy merchant ship, three coastguard patrol boats and a financial police boat. All those rescued were brought to ports in Calabria and Sicily.
The causes of death of the five dead were not immediately known.
The coastguard said it was just a series of rescues in recent days in Italy’s search and rescue zone in the central Mediterranean, as desperate people fleeing poverty or oppression sought a better life in Europe. In one case, a helicopter was called in to evacuate a woman in need of medical attention from a migrant boat in a precarious condition, the Coast Guard said.
In separate operations, German charity Sea-Watch said it rescued 444 migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean on overcrowded and rickety smugglers’ boats. The Sea-Watch 3 vessel carried out all five operations in 24 hours and said those rescued included a pregnant woman and a badly burned man.
The charity is asking permission to bring the rescued people to a safe port, as the rescue ship is unable to accommodate that many people.
In addition, European charity SOS Méditerrannée said its rescue vessel Ocean Viking rescued 87 people, including 57 unaccompanied minors, from an overcrowded dinghy off the coast of Libya. None had life jackets, the charity said.
Migrant arrivals in Italy have increased by almost a quarter compared to 2021, with 34,013 recorded up to Friday.
Although still significantly lower than the record year of 2015, crossings remain deadly, with 1,234 people recorded dead or missing at sea by the UN refugee agency this year, including 823 in the perilous Mediterranean. central.
16 dead in a capsize in the Bahamas
Elsewhere, 16 people have died after a ship carrying Haitian migrants capsized off the Bahamas, authorities said on Sunday, amid a continuing wave of maritime migration to the United States.
Four women and 17 men were rescued from the incident, Immigration Minister Keith Bell of the Bahamas told Reuters.
“We mourn the lost lives of those seeking a better way of life,” he said. “Those who are here with families and friends in Haiti, encourage your loved ones not to risk their lives.”
Bahamian police said the boat capsized about 11 kilometers off New Providence Island.
The Bahamas is a frequent transit route for Haitian migrants seeking to reach the United States.