In Italy, more than 1,000 boat migrants arrived on the Mediterranean coast on Saturday. During the night, a boat with 487 people reached the port city of Crotone in the Calabria region in the south of the country, as reported by the Ansa news agency. The Coast Guard escorted the boat into port. In the morning, a coast guard ship brought a total of 584 migrants to the port of the city of Reggio Calabria. The people had previously been boarded from overcrowded boats at sea.
Because of the difficult weather conditions and the large number of people, the operation was "extraordinarily complex," the authorities said. Hundreds of migrants are still floating in the sea on boats that are actually unseaworthy. Italy's coast guard has been heavily criticized in the past few days because it initially failed to come to the aid of a boat with more than 150 migrants at the end of February. The boat capsized. On Saturday - two weeks after the accident - emergency services pulled the body of a girl out of the water. In all, at least 74 people died.
Italy's Interior Ministry counted several thousand boat migrants who arrived on the mainland or on the island of Lampedusa in the past few days. As of Thursday evening, more than 15,800 migrants have been registered since the beginning of the year. In the two previous years there were about 6000 at this point.