World / Middle East

Italy rescues some 600 migrants off Libyan coasts, four women dead

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-09-02 11:04

ROME - Italian navy and coast guard vessels carried out at least four rescue operations in the Mediterranean Sea on Tuesday, saving some 600 migrants off the Libyan coasts.

Four women were found dead aboard an overcrowded inflatable boat during the first of such operations, the navy said.

The craft was in difficulty about 50 km north of Libya, and was carrying another 112 people on board. The nationality of the four victims was not immediately clear.

Italian navy vessel Fulgosi also rescued 109 and 120 people who were crammed aboard a second inflatable boat and a wooden craft respectively in the waters of the Canal of Sicily, between Libya and Italy.

Two Italian coast guard vessels provided help to a fourth craft with 256 migrants on board, the coast guard said.

Italy has been seeing a record wave of migrant boats crossing the Mediterranean from African coasts, and especially from Libya, since the beginning of the summer.

So far this year, over 111,300 migrants have arrived in Italy from Africa and the Middle East, according to official statistics.

Some 4,400 people had been saved in a single day by Italian coast guard and other European vessels on Aug. 23, in what local media reported as one of the biggest rescue operation ever performed by the European Union (EU) Triton rescue mission.

Also on Tuesday, the European Court of Human Rights based in Strasbourg sentenced Italy over the deportation of three Tunisian migrants in 2011.

According to the panel of judges, the Italian authorities subjected the three migrants to a degrading and inhuman treatment while they were held in several detention centers before the expulsion.

Their detention was unlawful, since the three migrants had not been notified of the reasons for their detention, and were therefore unable to challenge it, the court said in the statement explaining its ruling.

The court also ruled their repatriation in Tunisia breached the European laws because it was a "collective" measure: that means, Italy failed to consider each case on an individual basis, with no regards to their personal situation.

The country was ordered to pay 10,000 euros ($11,200) to each of the migrants in damages, plus some 9,300 euros (about $10,000), jointly, in costs.

Most Popular
Hot Topics