Dozens fear death as migrant boat capsizes in Mediterranean | world news

Dozens of people are believed to have died in the Mediterranean, according to two rescue charities, after a boat carrying migrants traveling from Libya capsized in bad weather.

Alarm Phone, a charity that monitors distress calls from migrant ships crossing to Europe, posted on Twitter on Sunday afternoon that a boat carrying 47 people had capsized 110 miles (176 km) to the northwest from Benghazi.

“We are in shock. According to different sources, dozens of people from this distressed boat drowned. We first alerted the authorities at 2:28 a.m. CET on March 11, underlining the urgency of the distress situation,” tweeted the organization.

An image purporting to show the ship was shared on Twitter by Sea-Watch International.

The charity had been in contact with people on the boat and said they were panicking and screaming.

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Another charity, Mediterranea Saving Humans, said Italian authorities had been alerted to the fate of the vessel and were ordering merchant vessels to observe the situation but not to make a rescue attempt.

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A ship carrying up to 150 migrants ran into trouble on Sunday in rough seas near the coastal town of Crotone in Calabria

Mediterranea’s head of mission, Luca Casarini, told Reuters four merchant ships were still in the area.

The Italian coastguard said on Sunday evening that 17 people had been recovered from the scene and that 30 people were missing. Two of the rescued people will be taken to Malta as they need urgent medical treatment, while the others will be taken to Italy.

The coastguard said the migrant boat capsized as rescue attempts took place.

It is the latest tragedy to afflict migrants attempting the dangerous crossing after a shipwreck near the southern region of Calabria left at least 79 people dead in late February.

The Italian coastguard said more than 1,300 migrants had been rescued recently in three separate operations off the southern tip of Italy, with another 200 rescued off Sicily.

Meanwhile, a politician from Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s party said there were nearly 700,000 migrants in Libya waiting to set sail for Italy.

Tommaso Foti of the Brothers of Italy told TV channel Tgcom24 that the Italian secret service had estimated that 685,000 migrants, many of them in detention camps, were planning to use smugglers to cross the sea.

About 105,000 migrants reached Italy by sea in 2022.


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