Over 300 would-be migrants arrive on Italian islet
M & C
Apr 16, 2009, 11:20 GMT
Lampedusa, Italy – More than 300 would-be migrants landed Thursday on the Italian islet of Lampedusa when three vessels carrying them were escorted to shore by authorities.
The first and largest group – 239 people including 45 women and two children – arrived at dawn after their vessel was intercepted by a Italian coastguard patrol, officials said.
Authorities are planning to transfer the migrants to a reception centre in Porto Empedocle in Sicily.
According to Italian government figures, a total of 36,900 would- be immigrants arrived in Italy by sea in 2008, a 75-per-cent increase over the previous year. Of these some 31,000 landed on Lampedusa, an islet situated south of Sicily.
Italian officials say they hope to see a decrease in such hazardous sea-journeys in May when an agreement between Rome and Tripoli involving stepped up patrols of Libya's coastline, comes into effect.
Earlier in April, over 230 would-be immigrants are feared to have drowned in a shipwreck off the coast of Libya.
Read more: http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/europe/news/article_1471182.php/Over_300_would-be_migrants_arrive_on_Italian_islet_#ixzz0D2zHsiNz&B