From Repubblica Palermo . A dinghy off the Lampedusan coast and a fishing boat off the Pozzallo coast have been rescued by the Coast Guard. There were 100 people aboard the first vessel, 24 of whom were women. Two new boats arriving with a total of 184 migrants rescued by Coast Guard patrol boats. In less than 24 hours the Coast Guard had rescued 184 migrants in difficulty off the Sicilian shore in two separate operations. The first was rescued 12 miles south-east off Pozzallo, whilst the second boat was rescued 60 miles off Lampedusa. In the case of this second vessel, the alarm was raised by one of the migrants aboard by satellite telephone.
The vessel’s exact position (60 miles south east of the island of Lampedusa) was supplied by the operator of the telephone after the Palermo Coast Guard had already notified the Lybian, Tunisian and Maltese authorities. A Maltese plane was able to identify the boat in difficulty, which was then reached by patrol boat CP301. Due to the poor condition of the dinghy, the Italian Coast Guard proceeded to transfer the migrants, all of whom were in good health, aboard their ship, which arrived in Lampedusa around 6pm.
The rescue operation of the 84 migrants aboard a fishing boat off the Pozzallo coast proved more complicated. The 20 metre long boat was reported by a Pozzallo fishing vessel yesterday evening at around 7pm. Suspicions were aroused amongst the crew and they informed the Pozzallo Coast Guard, who went out to control the boat. The five crew members told the Coast Guard they had left Tunisia for Malta. Unconvinced by the explanation, the captain of patrol boat Ct304 asked the boat to follow them into the port in Pozzallo. On the way into the port, the fishing boat ran into problems and on closer examination, the Coast Guard realised scores of people were hiding under the covers of the fishing boat. The boat was then escorted into Pozzallo, where 84 migrants were recovered from the ship. They claimed to be of Egyptian nationality. 55 of those aboard were minors.