HomeWorldMore than 1,000 migrants 'in danger' off Italy less than two weeks...

More than 1,000 migrants ‘in danger’ off Italy less than two weeks after deadly shipwreck

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The Italian coastguard has launched multiple rescue operations to save hundreds of migrants on boats, less than two weeks after at least 73 drowned in a shipwreck.

“More than 1,000 people are in danger,” the coastguard said.

President of the southern Calabria region, Roberto Occhiuto, said about 1,300 migrants were aboard boats that the European Union’s border force Frontex had warned could run into problems.

Three coastguard boats were trying to offload about 500 migrants on a vessel 110 kilometres south of the Calabrian town of Crotone.

The coastguard said it had also dispatched a couple of boats to rescue about 800 migrants aboard two more vessels further out to sea.

An Italian navy ship was also headed at full speed to the area to help out.

“The rescue operations … are particularly complex due to the large number of people on board the boats adrift,” the coastguard said.

In a separate incident earlier on Friday, the coastguard picked up almost 500 migrants close to the southern Italian island of Lampedusa, local media reported.

“In the last days, we have seen an increase in attempts to cross the Central Mediterranean,” Frontex said in a statement. 

“Only since yesterday, our planes and drones have detected 20 boats carrying hundreds of people heading towards the Italian shores.

“The weather conditions will be deteriorating in the upcoming hours.”

Italy’s migrant sea rescue capabilities have come under scrutiny following the February 26 shipwreck off Calabria. 

The body of a young boy was recovered on Friday, bringing the death toll to 73, with many migrants still missing. 

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