Italian navy rescues Pakistani migrants from boats

Published: January 3, 2014
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Migrants sit in a Marina Militare vessel during a rescue operation by Italian navy off the coast of the south of the Italian island of Sicily. PHOTO: REUTERS

Migrants sit in a Marina Militare vessel during a rescue operation by Italian navy off the coast of the south of the Italian island of Sicily. PHOTO: REUTERS

ROME: The Italian navy rescued more than 1,000 migrants in the 24 hours to Friday from boats trying to reach Europe, authorities said, as an immigration crisis that killed hundreds in the last year showed no signs of easing. 

Navy helicopters spotted four overcrowded boats struggling to stay afloat south of Sicily on Thursday and ships were sent to save them, the navy said in a statement.

The 823 men, women and children aboard the four vessels were from countries including Egypt, Pakistan, Iraq and Tunisia.

The navy rescued 233 migrants from Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia, Zambia, Mali and Pakistan in a separate operation and took them to a port near Syracuse on Sicily’s eastern coast.

Following an October shipwreck in which 366 Eritrean migrants drowned off the Italian island of Lampedusa, Italy launched a special operation combining ships, helicopters and drones to monitor the Mediterranean Sea.

Italy is a major gateway into Europe for many migrants seeking a better life, and sea arrivals to the country from Northern Africa more than tripled in 2013, fuelled by refugees in Syria’s civil war and strife in the Horn of Africa.

Over the past two decades, Italy, Greece and the Mediterranean island of Malta have the brunt of the migrant flows and have urged a coordinated European Union response.

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Reader Comments (7)

  • LalaGhee
    Jan 3, 2014 - 3:24PM

    Another feather in Pakistani cap.

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  • Ishrat salim
    Jan 3, 2014 - 4:52PM

    @LalaGhee:

    Which person in a proper state of mind will leave his country and his family, unless forced by circumstances beyond their control….you tell me !

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  • Grace
    Jan 3, 2014 - 9:32PM

    @LalaGhee: Perhaps you have never been to Italy but the majority of illegal migrants are Arabs and Africans -not Pakistanis. Moroever, if you were to look at the streets of Rome or other Italian cities, you would find more Indian and Bangladeshi asylum seekers. I can’t understand the obsession of some of ET’s Indian commentators!

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  • Oh Please!
    Jan 3, 2014 - 10:35PM

    Thanks ET! For labeling all migrants from a variety of countries as “Pakistanis”.
    Where was this news originated, by the way? Indian Papers maybe?

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  • Indra
    Jan 4, 2014 - 4:40AM

    @Ishrat salim: @LalaGhee:
    Which person in a proper state of mind will leave his country and his family, unless forced by circumstances beyond their control….you tell me !

    The circumstance of Jihadism dint fall from any sky.You made it.

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  • Adil Uddin
    Jan 4, 2014 - 7:41AM

    From the article

    The 823 men, women and children aboard the four vessels were from countries including Egypt, Pakistan, Iraq and Tunisia

    Pakistan has got political issues. But why the three Arab nations. Didn’t we have Arab Spring and “Revolution” in Egypt and Tunisia ? So why are their citizens still migrating to other nations this way? Plus, why Iraq? Didn’t USA bring “Democracy and Stability” over there? Or the fact remains that Saddam Hussain’s regime was thousand times better for the region than the presently installed one.

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  • Major Iqbal
    Jan 4, 2014 - 12:37PM

    If I were a Pakistani, I’d want to get out of Pakistan too.

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