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Migrant Ship Sank near Lampedusa, there Are Casualties

Migrant Ship Sank near Lampedusa, there Are Casualties”

Italian coastguards recovered the bodies of 13 women who died after a crowded migrant boat capsized in heavy weather as rescue boats approached it off the coast of Lampedusa, an island south of Sicily, local authorities said on Monday.

The Italian coast guard said it had recovered the 13 bodies and rescued 22 other people from the rough waters of the Mediterranean after the smuggling boat overturned just as a patrol boat was preparing to take the migrants aboard.

The coastguard went to the rescue of an "overloaded and already listing boat six nautical miles from the island of Lampedusa" with about 50 migrants on board shortly after midnight on Monday, a statement said.

A UNHCR spokesperson, Charlie Yaxley, told Reuters that more than 1,000 people have died in the Mediterranean in 2019, most on the route from Libya to Europe.

The U.N. migration agency said the boat had set sail from Tunisia, carrying Tunisian and West African migrants.

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"People can't die like this", Lampedusa Mayor Toto Martello advised AFP. Those still missing include at least eight children, survivors said.

Humanitarian groups say that often isn't enough.

Charlie Yaxley, spokesman for the United Nations refugee company, stated the lethal shipwreck "highlights once again that urgent action is needed to address the situation on the Mediterranean".

In the absence of an European Union search and rescue operation, the job of rescuing migrants has largely been left to humanitarian rescue ships, which both Italy and Malta have consistently refused to allow into port.

In a separate rescue operation, the Spanish charity ship Open Arms said it saved 44 people from another boat overnight, including a newborn child, in seas north of Libya. But Open Arms chose to rescue them anyway after waiting five hours because the boat wouldn't have made it to land without fuel and faced adverse weather. "They are by themselves, vessels in danger, because of the dimensions, the overweight (overcrowded) and the lack of navigation capacity and little security guarantees they can offer", Camps said.



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