413 migrants rescued or redirected in the Channel of Sicily

Harbor authorities cope with 3 troubled vessels during the night

413 migrants rescued or redirected in the Channel of Sicily

Rome, August 5 - Three troubled boats packed with 413 migrants called harbor authorities for rescue in the Channel of Sicily between Sunday night and Monday morning. The Italian coast guard evacuated one boat - which was taking on water - with 215 immigrants and accompanied the passengers to an overcrowded migrant holding centre the Italian island of Lampedusa following a wave of embarcations this weekend. A Liberian merchant vessel saved 102 migrants on another vessel and took them to Malta. Another 96 people, aboard a third distressed boat, were directed back to the Libyan coast where they had embarked. The rescues followed others on Saturday night, in which three distressed boats holding 250 migrants were taken to Lampedusa, one of which saw a tragic end for three women, who died of thirst and their bodies thrown overboard to sea. A female Somali survivor told Italian authorities that the boat she was on had left the Libyan coast four days prior, but stalled after a few hours of motoring out to sea. She said the fuel tank spilled inside the boat, burning some of her fellow passengers splashed by a mix of salt water and diesel. The boat, then adrift, was not stocked with emergency water supplies. On Monday the number of migrants held in the Lampedusa processing centre amounted to 840, while the facility has a 300-person capacity. Two airlifts are planned for Monday to transfer migrants to other Italian facilities.

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