Home > News > World
Monday May 12, 2014 MYT 9:36:05 PM
Monday May 12, 2014 MYT 9:36:06 PM
ROME (Reuters) - A boat carrying hundreds of migrants has sunk south off the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, Italian authorities said on Monday, a day after dozens were drowned off the Libyan coast.
An Italian navy spokesman said vessels from the Mare Nostrum task force, set up after hundreds of people drowned in migrant boat disasters last year, were on their way to the scene in the waters between Sicily and Libya.
A navy spokesman said the boat was estimated to be carrying around 200 people although some Italian media reports said it may have been carrying twice that number.
No further details were immediately available.
Italy has struggled for decades with a steady stream of migrants travelling in small, unsafe boats from North Africa to the tiny island of Lampedusa, midway between Tunisia and Sicily.
The flow has intensified since the Arab Spring upheavals of 2011 and the civil war in Syria, with well over 25,000 arriving in the first few months of this year. Libyan Navy spokesman Col. Ayoub Qassem said numbers leaving had increased in the past few days but authorities did not know why.
Hundreds were drowned in two separate disasters last year that prompted the government to step up air and marine patrols of the seas south of Sicily.
On Sunday, a least 40 people died and 51 others were rescued after a boat carrying mostly sub-Saharan African migrants sank off Libya's coast east of Tripoli.
(Additional reporting by Ahmed Elumami in Tripoli; reporting by James Mackenzie; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
Ukraine guardsman killed in nationalist protest outside parliament
Thai police hunt two bombing suspects after weekend raids
Analysis - Japan nuclear power outlook bleak despite first reactor restart
Two U.S. F-22 fighter jets arrive in Poland as part of European training mission
New batch of Hillary Clinton emails to be released at 9 p.m. - State Department
Five unusual ways to build endurance for a marathon
Ivanovic crashes out of U.S. Open in first round upset
Samsung Gear VR: Sight beyond sight
Passionate roars of support
Copyright © 1995-2015 Star Media Group Berhad (ROC 10894D)(Formerly known as Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad)