G7 ban doesn't stop migrant arrivals in Sicily

Deadly accident amidst two arrivals on Wednesday

25 May, 11:13

    (ANSAmed) - MAZARA DEL VALLO (TRAPANI) - Two migrant boats disembarked in Sicily on Wednesday, despite a ban on arrivals of boats carrying migrants through the end of the G7 summit taking place Friday and Saturday in Taormina.

    The arrivals on Wednesday were registered in Quarara, part of the port town of Mazara del Vallo, and in Pozzitello, part of the town of Campobello di Mazara, both in the province of Trapani on the island's western coast.

    Wednesday was, however, a tragic day in the Mediterranean.

    At least 34 people lost their lives and others went missing after a boat that had departed at sunrise from the Libyan port town of Zuwara had an accident on its way to Italy.

    There were "perhaps ten" children among the victims, according to unofficial reports from rescue workers.

    Nearly half of the boat's 500 passengers fell into the water when the boat encountered an unexpected wave or perhaps an unexpected movement of people aboard, causing it to lean to one side before righting itself.

    The Italian Coast Guard coordinated rescue operations, in an area of the sea in which their Libyan counterparts intercepted two boats with 237 migrants aboard.

    Those boats were forced to return to Libya and the migrants aboard were placed under arrest.

    Meanwhile, also in the central Mediterranean, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported a shipwreck last Friday with an unofficial count of over 150 people missing.

    A total of 14 ships engaged in 12 rescue operations saving over 2,000 migrants who were headed towards Italy aboard rubber boats or small watercraft.

    The central Libya-Italy migrant route continues to be extremely high risk: of the more than 50,000 migrants who have arrived this year in Italy by sea (up 39% on last year), about 1,400 have died, according to IOM figures. (ANSAmed).

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