Maltese cargo ship assists boat migrants

Coastguard headquarters in Rome said it had received a request for help by satellite telephone and had directed the Maltese ship to the location of the first vessel, a rubber boat.

File photo
File photo

A Maltese cargo ship was heading to assist a migrant boat with around 100 people on board in difficulty off the coast of Libya on Friday, and an Italian coast guard vessel was helping two other boats, Italian coastguards told Reuters.

Coastguard headquarters in Rome, which was coordinating both Friday's operations, said it had received a request for help by satellite telephone and had directed the Maltese ship to the location of the first vessel, a rubber boat.

The second incident was reported around 30 nautical miles from the Libyan capital Tripoli, and an Italian coastguard ship was already on the scene.

The coastguard said an improvement in weather conditions had allowed more migrant boats to set off from Libya, where the breakdown in law and order has allowed people-smugglers free rein.

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