(Rome) The Italian coastguard escorts 1,200 migrants crammed aboard two fishing boats in the Mediterranean Sea, after having rescued some 2,000 other people since Friday during various operations.
The operations were described as “complex” due to the overcrowding of the boat carrying the migrants.
The boat was located in Italian waters more than 190 km southeast of Syracuse in Sicily.
Three coastguard patrol boats and a merchant vessel, under the coordination of the coastguard vessel Nave Peluso, were engaged in the rescue operations.
A second fishing boat carrying 400 migrants was intercepted in Italian waters by the coastguard vessel Diciotti southeast of Cape Passero at the southern tip of Sicily.
Two commercial vessels were involved in the rescue during this operation, according to the coast guard.
Alarm Phone, a hotline for people in distress at sea, tweeted Monday that the migrants on board were “in a state of panic”.
According to a woman on board, the boat from Libya no longer has a captain, and several passengers, including a child, a pregnant woman and an invalid, need medical attention, Alarm Phone tweeted on Sunday.
Three panicked people jumped overboard and one lost consciousness.
Since Friday, some 2,000 people have already been rescued in multiple operations, the coast guard said.
Thousands of migrants have reached Italian shores, including the shores of the island of Lampedusa in recent days after making the perilous crossing in makeshift boats from North African shores.
On Sunday, the German NGO ResQship announced that at least two migrants were dead and around twenty others missing after the sinking of their boat between Tunisia and Italy.
ResQship told AFP that it was able to rescue 22 people and transport them to Lampedusa, with the cooperation of the Italian coast guard.
According to the Interior Ministry, more than 14,000 migrants have landed in Italy since the start of the year, compared to just over 5,300 during the same period last year and 4,300 in 2021.