Italy rescues boat carrying scores of Syrians

Navy says over 100 Syrian refugees were rescued after their boat got into difficulties off the coast of Sicily.

    The Italian government mobilised warships, amphibious vessels and and aircraft to carry out rescue operations [Reuters]
    The Italian government mobilised warships, amphibious vessels and and aircraft to carry out rescue operations [Reuters]

    The Italian navy and coastguard said they rescued overnight over 100 Syrian refugees after their boat got into difficulties off the coast of Sicily.

    The boat, which had launched distress signals while almost 500 kilometres south of the island, was located in the night by two naval vessels, officials said, adding that life jackets were then given to all passengers.

    Weather conditions had initially made it difficult to transfer the refugees from their ailing craft. But on Saturday morning the coastguard was able to recover 105 passengers, including six women and 25 children, all of them Syrians.

    They were taken to Syracuse, in the southeast of Sicily's main island.

    Their rescue comes just days after another group of 120 refugees, mainly Syrians, were saved on December 2 after their ship was found adrift off of Calabria, on Italy's southern mainland.

    More than 400 immigrants died in early October in two shipwrecks, one near the Italian island of Lampedusa, the other near the coast of Malta.

    Shortly after the tragedy, the Italian government launched a major operation called "Mare Nostrum", mobilising warships, amphibious vessels and aircraft to prevent further incidents.

    Also on Saturday, Spanish authorities announced they had saved some 46 refugees. The group had been plucked from four boats off of Spain's

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    FGM: The last cutting season

    FGM: The last cutting season

    Maasai women are spearheading an alternative rite of passage that excludes female genital mutilation.

    'No girl is safe': The mothers ironing their daughters' breasts

    Victims of breast ironing: It felt like 'fire'

    Cameroonian girls are enduring a painful daily procedure with long lasting physical and psychological consequences.

    Could mega-dams kill the mighty River Nile?

    Could mega-dams kill the mighty River Nile?

    For Ethiopia, a new dam holds the promise of much-needed electricity; for Egypt, the fear of a devastating water crisis.