Nearly 300 rescued migrants reach southern Italian port, but numbers increase in Sicily
Published: Tuesday, June 2, 2013, 9:39 [IST]
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New Delhi, June 2 (PTI) Rescue operations in Sicily to take advantage of a lull in the migrant flow have been carried out with “great success” with nearly 300 people rescued since Tuesday, officials said on Wednesday.
According to Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, more than 400 migrants have been rescued in Sicily with more than 80 still at sea.
The operations are taking place in the ports where most of the migrants have been crossing the Mediterranean in the past few days, a statement from the Interior Ministry said.
“We have already rescued close to 300 people and we have a total of some 400 people in the sea,” Alfano told reporters Wednesday.
“We have a very large number, but we are seeing a big improvement in the number of people rescued,” the minister said.
“We are in contact with the Greek authorities, they are cooperating, they have done a very good job in taking care of them, we have some good news,” he said.
The migrants are being transported to the Italian mainland in small boats and have been taken to the ports of Messina and Palermo, he said.
Officials said the Italian authorities and NGOs were cooperating well to save the people.
“The operation is in full swing in Sicily, we have more than 400 people on board, and we will continue to rescue them,” Alfano said.
The Italian Interior Ministry said the migrant rescue operations in Sicily were carried out after a three-day lull in the sea passage.
“We are in full swing to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean, there are more than 400 people on board the boats,” Alfano also added.
“There are no specific conditions in the search, we have a good organization at the ports, everything is being supervised in time, this is a long operation,” he said.
He said the operations did not target any particular part of the Mediterranean.
“There is a common agreement between our partners and we have a very clear strategy. And we are ready to move as soon as we have rescued all of the people,” he said.