Italy Rescues 137 Migrants off Sicily

Italy Rescues 137 Migrants off Sicily
Patrols stepped up after 2 boats of migrants sink
Thomson Reuters| CBC News Posted: Oct 26, 2013

African Migrants
The rescue operation follows the drowning of migrants in two maritime disasters off the Italian coast earlier this month. (Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty)

The Italian coastguard released video of a night-time operation to rescue some 137 migrants from a boat off the coast of Sicily on Saturday.

According to a statement the operation took place at around 1:45 a.m. local time.
The video released by the coast guard showed officers approaching the migrant vessel in the dark, with many of the migrants seen seated on the deck of the boat. Women and children were among the migrants, the video showed.
The migrants were then helped board the coastguard vessel where they were given snacks and drinks before being taken to the port of Pozzallo in Sicily.
According to the coast guard, the group included 19 women and 38 children.
Over 32,000 migrants have made the journey to southern Italy by boat so far this year, according to the United Nations.
Italy has increased patrols in the seas between Libya, Tunisia and Italy since more than 360 mainly Eritrean migrants drowned in early October when their boat capsized off Lampedusa.
A second boat sank a week later, leaving an estimated 200 people missing. Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta has pressed European Union leaders to increase aid to Mediterranean countries including Italy, Greece and Malta which have handled the brunt of the crisis. Italian authorities said navy and coast guard vessels rescued more than 700 migrants in waters between Sicily and North Africa overnight on Thursday (October 24).