Posted on March 13, 2023

More Than 1,300 Migrants Brought Ashore in Italy After Multiple Rescues

Crispian Balmer, Reuters, March 11, 2023

More than 1,300 migrants have been rescued in three separate operations off the southern tip of Italy, the coastguard said on Saturday, two weeks after at least 74 people died when their boat hit rocks near the coast.

Growing numbers of migrant arrivals have piled pressure on Italy’s conservative government, which took office last October promising to reduce the flow only to see a sharp increase in such landings this year from both North Africa and Turkey.

The coastguard said one of its vessels had taken 500 migrants off one boat more than 100 miles (160 km) out to sea {snip}


Local officials said a further 200 people had been picked up off the coast of Sicily and would be ferried to Catania later in the day {snip}

More than 17,000 people have reached Italy so far this year, including around 4,000 this week, compared to 6,000 in the first 2-1/2 months of 2022. Hundreds have also died trying to cross the Mediterranean and reach Europe.


Prosecutors are investigating whether Italian authorities should have done more to prevent the disaster. Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has rejected the suggestion and looked to pin the blame entirely on human traffickers.

Her cabinet on Thursday introduced tougher jail terms for people smugglers and promised to open up more channels for legal migration. Late last year, it cracked down on charity rescue boats, accusing them of acting as a taxi service for migrants.