At least fifty-nine migrants died on Sunday after their boat sank, not far from the Italian city of Crotone, in Calabria, located in the south of the country.
“Until a few minutes ago, the number of confirmed victims was 59,” the city’s mayor, Vincenzo Voce, told the Sky TG-24 streaming news channel.
According to the coast guard, the boat was carrying around 120 people and broke on the rocks a few meters from the coast, the firefighters referring to them as “more than 200 people”.
Italian police footage shows wood debris scattered over a hundred meters of the beach, where many rescuers and survivors were waiting to be transferred to a reception center.
Expressing her “deep pain”, the head of government Giorgia Meloni judged in a press release “criminal to put at sea a boat of barely 20 meters with 200 people on board and a bad weather forecast”.
“The government is determined to prevent departures, and with them this kind of tragedy, and will continue to do so, requiring above all the greatest collaboration of the States of departure and origin”, assured Meloni.
In 2022, around 105,000 migrants arrived in Italy and nearly 5,000 since the beginning of the year, a figure up sharply compared to the same period of the two previous years, indicates the website of the Ministry of the Interior .
In an attempt to curb the arrivals, the Italian parliament definitively adopted on Thursday a new, restrictive law on the activities of NGOs which rescue migrants at sea. The ships of these NGOs must therefore inform the Italian authorities as soon as they have rescued a boat and the latter then decide on the port where survivors and rescuers should land.
According to figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 1,377 died or went missing on this migration route in 2022 and 63 others since the beginning of the year.