Migrants arrive in Italy at record-setting pace this year: officials

NTD Staff
By NTD Staff
March 6, 2017Worldshare

The Siem Pilot vessel docked here in Catania, Sicily brought in more than 500 migrants on Sunday, bringing this weekend’s total of rescues to nearly 1,300.

So far, Italian figures show a 57 percent increase in arrivals by boat compared to last year.

Siem Pilot commander Jorgen Berg says many of the migrants described brutal conditions while leaving Libya.

“They had been beaten, they had had thrown stones at them and also one had been shot in his leg before they got into the marine boats and onto the ocean,” he said.

With the higher number of migrants taking the perilous sea journey comes a higher number of deaths.

The International Organization for Migration says 487 migrants have died in the Mediterranean as of March 2nd, higher than the 425 during the first two months of last year.

Berg says a 16-year-old boy died on the Siem Pilot on Friday morning.

“We are not sure what kind of illness, but there were complications, and he did not die of any wounds from the departure from Libya,” said Berg.

About half a million migrants have arrived in Italy since the start of 2014.

A record 181,000 arrived last year, but at the current rate, officials fear a new record will be set this year.




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