The Italian navy has rescued 233 mostly African migrants from a 10 meter (yard) boat in Mediterranean waters south of Sicily as the immigration crisis that killed hundreds in shipwrecks in 2013 showed no signs of letting up in the new year.
The navy picked them up in choppy seas late on Wednesday and was ferrying them on Thursday to a port near Syracuse on Sicily’s eastern coast, a statement said.
On board were men and women from Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia, Zambia and Mali as well as from Pakistan, the navy said.
Greece’s coastguard on Jan. 2 rescued a group of 85 undocumented migrants including women and children from a sailing ship in the southeastern Aegean Sea, officials said.
“The migrants are currently being transferred to other vessels and will be taken to the island of Astypalaia,” a coastguard spokeswoman told AFP.
“We gave them food and water and they are not in danger,” Coastguard spokesman Nikos Lagadianos said, “There are small children and women among the migrants. It was a major operation that lasted all night.” The nationalities of the immigrants were not immediately clear.