According to aid agencies, a ship with about 500 migrants on board has disappeared in the central Mediterranean. Another refugee boat capsized off the Greek island of Mykonos. Three people have died and at least twelve are missing, the Greek coastguard reported on Friday. The NGO Alarm Phone is now demanding “answers”.
Contact with the missing ship carrying 500 people was lost Wednesday morning, says the NGO, which takes distress calls from migrant boats. At the time, the boat had drifted into the high seas about 200 miles from the Libyan port of Benghazi after an engine failure. Malta and Sicily were more than 400 kilometers apart.
Two ships searched in vain for the boat
The Italian aid organization Emergency announced on Thursday that two ships had been unsuccessfully searching for the missing boat for 24 hours. A spokesperson said Friday that the search was ongoing. The migrants may have managed to repair the engine and sail towards Sicily, or may have been rescued by another ship. The Italian Coast Guard did not comment.
Due to the better weather, more migrant boats are currently being picked up again. On Thursday, the Italian coastguard ship “Diciotti” arrived in the port of Reggio Calabria with 671 rescued migrants in the central Mediterranean. The migrants had departed from Libya and were traveling on a boat that was reached by the Coast Guard. It concerns 613 men, six women, 41 children and eleven unaccompanied minors. The migrants have Syrian, Egyptian, Afghan and Pakistani nationality.
Several deaths off Mykonos
The bodies of two fugitive women and a man were found Friday in the Aegean Sea off Mykonos, the Greek coastguard said. Two men – a Syrian and a Palestinian – were rescued. According to them, there were about 17 people on the boat. The route between Turkey and the neighboring Greek islands is shorter, but thousands of migrants have already lost their lives trying to reach it. Often they only travel with inflatable boats.
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