Libya + 4 more

2 400 migrants rescued off Libyan coast before Easter

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2015-04-08

Italian authorities rescued 2 400 migrants who left Libya on wooden fishing boats and rubber dinghies ahead of the Easter holiday last week, including 318 migrants rescued by Icelandic Coast Guard vessel Týr taking part in the Frontex-coordinated Joint Operation Triton.

The migrants took advantage of a brief window of favourable weather starting at the beginning of April to venture out in hopes of reaching the Italian coast.

“Once again a vessel participating in the Frontex-coordinated Triton operation took part in the rescue of migrants and did so close to the Libyan coast. We will continue to do our part to save lives in the Mediterranean,” said Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri.

Most of the migrants - mainly from the Sub-Saharan region of Africa but also Syrians and Palestinians - were intercepted in Search and Rescue (SAR) operations some 30-40 NM off the Libyan coast. The migrants called for help using satellite phones. Several merchant vessels also took part in the rescue operations.

The Italian Coast Guard transferred the migrants it rescued, including children and pregnant women, to the island of Lampedusa and the Sicilian ports of Augusta and Porto Empedocle. The migrants rescued by Týr disembarked in Pozzallo, Sicily.

Excluding last week’s incidents, more than 24 400 irregular migrants were rescued on the Central Mediterranean route since the launch of Joint Operation Triton in November 2014, including nearly 7 860 with the participation of assets co-financed by Frontex.