Italy threatens to close its ports to ships carrying rescued migrants, saying it can no longer cope

The EU has appealed to Italy not to make good on a threat to close its ports to boats carrying migrants rescued in the Mediterranean.

More than 73,000 asylum seekers have been rescued off the coast of Libya and brought to Italy this year, on top of the 181,000 who arrived last year, and Rome’s patience is running out.

The vast majority are economic migrants, with Nigerians and Bangladeshi the most numerous nationalities, followed by people from Guinea, Ivory Coast, Gambia and Senegal.