Photo via Médecins Sans Frontières
An Italian coastguard spokesperson said that during an operation on Friday rescuers was able to bring seven hundred (700) boat migrants to safety in the Mediterranean and discovered twenty-three (23) bodies, the second loss of several lives that are recorded in the area this week so far.
Since July, the number of migrants reaching Italy has declined sharply after about three (3) years of mass arrivals, when Rome finalized a deal with Libya to block what is said to have become a busy route for smugglers of people.
On its Facebook page, the mission said that a Spanish ship that was deployed in the Operation Sophia naval mission of the European Union recovered the dead bodies, along with sixty-four (64) survivors, from a sinking rubber boat.
“A tough day in the Central Mediterranean Sea,” the Facebook post said, adding the rescues had started in the early morning.
In total, six (6) rescue operations were carried out on Friday, the spokesperson said, making it one of the busiest days for rescues in the past months. On Wednesday, seven (7) people were found dead and 900 people were saved.
Diciotti, the Italian Coast Guard ship, was on its ways to the southern port of Reggio Calabria with seven hundred sixty-four (764) rescued migrants on board, said the ANSA news agency in a report that was confirmed by the coast guard spokesperson.
The ANSA said that Diciotti was also carrying eight (8) dead bodies. However, it was unclear if they had been among those that were recovered by the Spanish ship.
The people that were rescued were originally from Sub-Saharan Africa, Libya, Pakistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Nepal, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Morocco, Syria, Yemen, Jordan and Lebanon, said ANSA.
On Friday, three (3) people drowned in the Aegean Sea, six (6) were reported to be missing and many others were rescued while attempting to reach Greece.