A ship carrying about 500 migrants, together with a new child child and pregnant ladies, has disappeared within the central Mediterranean, two charities have stated.
Alarm Telephone, a gaggle that picks up calls from migrant vessels in misery, stated it misplaced contact with the boat on Wednesday morning.
On the time, the boat was adrift, with no working engine, in excessive seas about 320km north of the Libyan port of Benghazi and greater than 400km away from Malta or Italy’s southern island of Sicily.
Italian NGO Emergency stated yesterday its Life Help ship and the Ocean Viking, one other charity vessel, had unsuccessfully regarded for the lacking boat for twenty-four hours, however discovered no signal of any shipwreck.
A spokesperson for Emergency stated as we speak the search was nonetheless on, including that the migrants might need been picked up by one other boat or might have managed to repair their engine and proceed crusing in direction of Sicily.
The Italian Coast Guard reported yesterday the rescue of 423 and 671 migrants in two separate operations in Italian search and rescue waters, and Alarm Telephone stated they have been unrelated to the lacking boat.
The Italian coast guard had no instant remark.
In a separate incident, German charity SOS Humanity stated 27 migrants have been picked up at sea by an oil tanker and illegally taken again to Libya.
Underneath worldwide humanitarian legislation, migrants can’t be forcibly returned to international locations the place they danger severe ill-treatment, and widespread migrant abuse has been extensively documented in Libya
Efficiency Transport, the Greek firm that owns the P. Lengthy Seaside tanker allegedly concerned within the incident, didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark despatched through the corporate’s web site.
European governments have taken an more and more onerous line on migration, together with in Italy, which is dealing with a surge in sea arrivals.
Greater than 47,000 landings have been recorded within the yr to this point, up from round 18,000 in the identical interval of 2022.