At least 59 migrants, including 12 children, died when their boat sank in rough seas off the coast of southern Italy, and dozens more are presumed missing. The ship disintegrated while attempting to land near the Calabrian coastal town of Crotone. According to survivors, at least 150 people were on board. The president of Italy stated that a large number of them were escaping difficult conditions.
The coastguard reported that 80 survivors, including some who reached the shore after the ship sank, had been located.
It is unclear how many people were on the boat when it sank. However, rescue workers told AFP that the vessel was carrying "more than 200 people," which would leave more than 60 people unaccounted for. An infant believed to be just a few months old was among the deceased, according to the sources. At a nearby seaside resort, bodies were retrieved from the beach.
The ship carrying passengers from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Iran departed Turkey several days ago. Every year, a large number of Africans fleeing war or poverty cross into Italy.
According to reports, the ship sank after colliding with rocks in rough weather, prompting a massive land-and-sea search-and-rescue operation. Several pieces of the hull and splintered wood from the shipwreck are captured on video footage washing up on the beach. Red Cross workers are observed caring for survivors huddled under blankets. Some have been taken to hospital.
Antonio Ceraso, the mayor of Cruto, told Rai News that there had previously been landings, but never a tragedy of this magnitude. According to customs police, one survivor has been arrested on charges of migrant smuggling.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who was elected in part on a promise to stem the flow of migrants into Italy, expressed "deep sorrow" and blamed traffickers for the deaths. She mentioned that it was inhumane and stated that "It is cruel to exchange the lives of women, men, and children for the 'ticket' they purchased under the false pretense of a safe journey."
The government is committed to preventing departures and, by extension, the unraveling of these tragedies, and will continue to do so. Ms. Meloni's right-wing government has vowed to prevent migrants from reaching Italy's shores, and in recent days it has pushed through a strict new rescue law.
Former Italian economy minister Carlo Calenda stated that people in distress at sea should be rescued "at any cost". However, the "unauthorized immigration routes must be closed." President of the European Commission Ursula van der Leyen stated that she was "deeply saddened" by the incident and that the loss of innocent migrants' lives was a tragedy. She stated that it was essential to "double down on our efforts" to make progress on reforming EU asylum rules in order to address the migration challenges facing Europe.
Regina Catrambone, the director of the Migrant Offshore Aid Station, which conducts search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean, told sources that European nations must collaborate to assist those in need. She urged governments to improve search and rescue efforts and develop safe and legal routes by cooperating to improve search and rescue efforts and develop safe and legal routes. "There is currently no active coordination among European states to assist those in need," she stated.