More than 1,000 migrants rescued off Italian waters in 24 hours
By THE (HAMBURG, GERMANY) DEUTSCHE PRESSE-AGENTUR Published: January 4, 2014
ROME — More than 1,000 would-be migrants have been rescued from the Mediterranean Sea over the course of 24 hours, the Italian navy said Friday.
A total of 823 migrants, who were traveling on four overcrowded and barely seaworthy boats, were picked up near the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa by naval vessels on Thursday.
Their passengers are said to have come from Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan and Iraq, among other countries. They were transferred to the Sicilian port of Augusta, near Syracuse.
Late Wednesday, one boat with 233 people on board was rescued in strong winds and rough waters also near Lampedusa. Most of the passengers came from Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia, Pakistan, Zambia and Mali.
The European Union recently launched a new EU border surveillance network to try to protect the lives of migrants attempting the dangerous crossing to southern Europe.
It came after more than 360 people died in early October in a shipwreck off Lampedusa.