Immigration: boat with 65 migrants rescued in the Adriatic

02 July, 16:32

(ANSAMed) - ZAGREB, JULY 2 - A sailboat with 65 African and Asian illegal migrants aboard will be towed out of Southern Adriatic waters by the Croatian Coast Guard later today, Croatian Defence Ministry officials said.

The boat, which will be towed to Dubrovnik, was headed for Italy and has been stuck in international waters for two days due to engine failure, authorities said. 'Following negotiations with the crew of the Maria Drink boat, of unknown nationality, the Coast Guard will take the vessel to Dubrovnik, where its passengers will be turned over to Croatian authorities', a communiqué said. The boat people initially refused Croatian aid, insisting that they wanted to reach Italy, but were convinced by authorities that the vessel was unsafe and could cause a humanitarian disaster, Croatian media reported. The boat left Greece a week ago, and was been adrift for two days since its engine broke down before calling for help, according to reports by Croatian media.

The passengers were supplied with food and water by a passing Turkish ship yesterday, and by the Croatian Coast Guard last night. The sailboat, which has maximum capacity of 10 people, is carrying 65 migrants from Afghanistan, Egypt, Somalia and Syria.

They are all reportedly in relatively good condition, though exhausted by heat, hunger and dehydration. A refugee camp will be set up in Dubrovnik according to international humanitarian standards, authorities said.



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