(Adnkronos) A dinghy with 107 migrants aboard, including 28 woman, 3 minors and 76 men, was rescued last night by the coastguard just off Lampedusa. Another rescue operation was being carried out simultaneously by a merchant ship and a Maltese military patrol boat. 77 migrants were rescued.
The signal arrived at the Palermo coastguard late yesterday evening by satellite phone. The boast was located at about 96 miles south east of Lampedusa. The Lybian and Maltese authorities were informed given that the dinghy was almost on the border of their respective search and rescue areas. Two coastguard patrol boats left Lampedusa at the same time, while a Navy ship also headed in the direction of the dinghy.
From the Italian coastguard’s General Commander’s Office of Central Operations, two merchant ships were identified in the rescue area using naval monitoring systems. They were re-routed towards the dinghy and reached it at around midnight. They stayed in close proximity to the dinghy until search and rescue arrived. The two coastguard patrol boats arrived at about 2am and began taking the migrants aboard. The drifting dinghy was approximately 89 miles south of Lampedusa. The operation finished at around 3am and the patrol boats headed directly for Lampedusa where they arrived in the early morning. The navy ship followed the operations and had a medical team aboard for any eventual necessities. Also yesterday evening, after 10pm, the Palermo coastguard received a further request for aid from a dinghy with 77 people aboard, 80 miles south of Lampedusa. The Maltese authorities had sent out a merchant ship which was already in the area plus a military patrol ship. “It was the last in a recent series of difficult search and rescue operations (due to the distance it was necessary to travel and the number of people aboard) carried out over the last couple of days,” explained the Port Authority’s Press Office in Rome.