More than 1,300 migrants have been brought ashore in multiple rescue operations in Italy

More than 1,300 migrants brought ashore in Italy after multiple rescue operations

Italy’s Navy and Coast Guard ran to help three ships (Image: PA)

Italian Coast Guard and Navy vessels have brought hundreds of rescued migrants ashore.

Elsewhere in the Mediterranean, thousands of migrants poured from a shelter onto a tiny tourist island.

The arrivals come amid a crackdown on people smugglers announced just two days earlier by Italy’s right-wing government.

In a statement, the Coast Guard said overcrowding on two vessels and adverse sea and weather conditions had complicated rescue operations, which began Friday in the Ionian Sea off Calabria.

A fishing boat carrying around 500 migrants enters the port of Crotone in southern Italy early on Saturday, March 11, 2023. The Italian Coast Guard responded to three smuggling boats carrying more than 1,300 migrants ???in danger??? off the southern coast of Italy, officials said on Friday. Three Coast Guard small boats rescued a boat carrying 500 migrants about 700 miles off the Calabria region, which forms the toe of Italy's boot. (AP Photo/Valeria Ferraro)

A fishing boat carrying around 500 migrants entered the port of Crotone in southern Italy early this morning (Image: AP)

A 94-meter (310-foot) Coast Guard vessel took on 584 migrants, while two smaller Coast Guard motorboats took on board 379 and then transferred them to an Italian Navy ship bound for Augusta, a port in eastern Sicily. when the migrant shelters in Calabria filled up quickly.

Separately, a boat carrying 487 people that was intercepted by Italian vessels about 60 nautical miles (112 kilometers) off Crotone in Calabria on Friday was assisted by two Coast Guard motorboats and a Border Police boat.

The news comes after a shipwreck was found on a beach in Cutro on February 26.

The known death toll from the tragedy rose to 74 on Saturday, with the body of a young girl being the last to be recovered from the sea.

An image taken by a thermal imaging camera of a FRONTEX (European Border and Coast Guard Agency) aircraft on Saturday February 25, showing the boat that later went wrecked off the Italian coast of Cutro. At least 67 people, including 14 minors, died when their overcrowded wooden boat hit shoals 100 meters (yards) off the coast of Cutro and broke apart in rough seas early Sunday. Eighty people survived, but many more are feared dead as survivors said the boat was carrying about 170 people when it departed from Izmir, Turkey last week. (FRONTEX via AP)

A thermal camera image shows the boat that was later wrecked off the Italian coast of Cutro (Image: AP)

Eighty passengers survived the shipwreck, but many more were reported missing and are presumed dead.

Meanwhile, on the tiny island of Lampedusa, an Italian fishing and tourist town south of Sicily, about 3,000 newly arrived migrants poured out of a shelter meant to hold fewer than 350.

Hundreds of migrants spent the night sleeping on mattresses in the shelter’s fenced compound.

Plans to ease some of Lampedusa’s overcrowding by getting hundreds of migrants aboard a ferry were hampered by high winds that lashed the island and made it impossible for the ship to dock on Saturday morning.

An Italian Coast Guard officer stands near a beach near Cutro, southern Italy, Tuesday February 28, 2023. Rescue workers searched by sea and air for dozens of people still missing from a shipwreck off Italy's southern coast and back home were the desperate and dangerous crossings of migrants who want to reach Europe. (AP Photo/Valeria Ferraro)

An Italian Coast Guard officer stands near a beach near Cutro, southern Italy (Image: AP)

Italian media reported that around 140 migrants were then taken off the island by plane.

Authorities on Lampedusa said many of the migrants who arrived on the island, which is closer to North Africa than mainland Italy, sailed from the port of Sfax in Tunisia, a route increasingly used by smugglers.

The UN migration agency estimates that around 300 people have died or are missing and presumed dead on the dangerous central Mediterranean route this year.

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Justin Scacco

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