AFM rescues 370 migrants who were taken to Italy

AFM patrol boat takes 370 migrants to Sicily after operations off Libya over the past four days

file photo
file photo

The Armed Forces of Malta has rescued more than 370 migrants who were taken to Sicily after operations off Libya over the past four days.  

The AFM's offshore patrol vessel P-61 was actively involved in a series of rescue operations under the coordination of the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Rome as part of its contributions in Frontex Operation Triton.   
The AFM's patrol vessel worked closely with the Italian coastguard and other coastguard vessels operating in the area.        
During its first rescue mission, P-61 saved 138 migrants in Libyan waters. Subsequently, the P-61 was asked to transfer another 233 migrants on board its quarterdeck, all of who have safely disembarked in Italy.

Meanwhile more than 1,200 migrants, the majority coming from sub-Saharan Africa and Syria, have arrived in Sicily today after having been rescued in the Mediterranean, according to the Italian coastguard.

The migrants, who include 133 women and 27 children, arrived in Palermo after being picked up off the Libyan coast by a Norwegian cargo ship, which is participating in  a voluntary EU border security operation. A further 468 migrants were taken to Pozzallo aboard an Irish navy patrol ship.

Italy and Greece have borne the brunt of a massive increase in the numbers of migrants fleeing conflicts and poverty in Africa and the Middle East. At least 1,900 migrants have died in their attempts to make the perilous crossing to Europe in 2015.  

The International Organization for Migration estimate that something in the region of 150,000 people have made the crossing in this year alone.