Migrant Tragedy at Sea Spurs Call for Stronger Patrols

Title: Tragic Loss in the Mediterranean: Up to 60 Feared Drowned, Charity Group SOS Mediterranee Reports

In a somber update from the central Mediterranean, a region known as one of the world’s deadliest migration routes, SOS Mediterranee, a charity rescue group, has reported a distressing incident involving migrants. The group fears that as many as 60 individuals may have perished while attempting the perilous crossing from Libya to Italy or Malta.

The organization, working in coordination with the Italian Coast Guard, managed to rescue 25 people in a “very weak” condition on Wednesday. Among the rescued were two unconscious individuals who required immediate medical evacuation by helicopter to Sicily. The survivors, who had set off from Zawiya, Libya, recounted a harrowing seven-day ordeal at sea after their engine failed, leaving them adrift without food or water.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Mediterranean crossing claimed nearly 2,500 lives last year, with 226 reported deaths or disappearances since the beginning of 2024. The IOM has expressed deep concern over the latest tragedy and called for “urgent action” to enhance maritime patrols and prevent further loss of life.

Further rescue operations by SOS Mediterranee’s vessel Ocean Viking resulted in the saving of an additional 113 people, including two children from a wooden boat, and 88 from a rubber dinghy. Despite being directed to sail approximately 1,500 km to the Italian Adriatic port of Ancona, the charity has requested a closer port for disembarkation due to the critical condition of several migrants requiring oxygen masks.

The response from Italy’s right-wing government has been criticized by charity groups like SOS Mediterranee, which claim that their rescue efforts are being hampered by policies that force them to travel to distant ports and face temporary impoundment of their ships. Italy, along with other European Union governments, is actively seeking to reduce the influx of sea migrants from North Africa by offering financial and material assistance to Libya and Tunisia to prevent departures.

Despite these measures, data from the Italian Interior Ministry indicates that 5,968 migrants have arrived by sea this year, a significant decrease from the 19,937 reported at the same time in 2023.

The Mediterranean continues to be a theater of tragedy for migrants seeking a better life. This latest incident underscores the ongoing humanitarian crisis and the dire need for comprehensive solutions to ensure safe and legal pathways for migration.

- Up to 60 people are feared drowned in a migrant vessel crossing from Libya to Italy or Malta

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