Italian authorities are reporting more and more crossings of migrants and refugees in the central Mediterranean. The Coast Guard deployed several ships on Friday to help three boats carrying more than 1,000 migrants off the southern Italian coast. As stated in a statement, an aircraft is also being used that is “extraordinarily complex” because of the large number of people. A military ship also took part in the rescue operations.
The weather report announced strong winds and increasingly rough seas for the weekend. On Friday morning, emergency calls were initially made from a boat with 500 people on board.
The Coast Guard was recently criticized for not initially helping a boat with more than 150 migrants at the end of February. The wooden boat capsized off the Calabrian coast, at least 72 people died. The authorities and the government in Rome explained that they had not initially assumed an emergency situation on the night of the accident.
Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni reminded on Thursday after a meeting of her cabinet in the town of Cutro, off the beach of which the ship sank, that the Coast Guard comes to the rescue of boats every day. She rejected allegations that those migrants were deliberately not helped.
Italy's interior ministry has counted several thousand boat migrants who have arrived on the coasts of the Mediterranean country or on the island of Lampedusa in the past few days. As of Thursday evening, more than 15,800 migrants were registered - in 2021 and 2022 there were almost 6,000 people in the same period.