A ship carrying over 100 migrants from Turkey sank off the southern coast of Calabria, Italy, resulting in the tragic deaths of at least 60 people, including several children and a new born baby.
The overloaded ship had been at sea for four days and ended up shipwrecked in the waters of Steccato di Cutro in the province of Crotona.
The Italian Coast Guard reported that 80 survivors were rescued and brought to shore. The death toll may increase as rough sea conditions made it difficult for people to survive, and rescue services continue to search for survivors. The migrants were believed to be from Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
While initial reports suggested that the boat hit rocks, some survivors claimed that the ship sank due to an engine explosion, causing numerous injuries. Italian President Sergio Matterella expressed his condolences and called the incident “yet another tragedy in the Mediterranean that cannot leave anyone indifferent.”
According to a report by ‘La Repubblica’, the Italian authorities were informed about the boat’s existence on Saturday, when a Frontex patrol agency helicopter alerted them. However, their attempt to help was hindered by rough sea conditions and darkness, forcing them to return to land. Twenty survivors were transferred to the hospital in Crotone, while the others were taken to a shelter. The Coast Guard and Red Cross continue to provide assistance to the survivors who made it to the coast on their own.
In a statement, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni condemned the act of overcrowding a ship of only 20 meters in length with up to 200 people on board, especially with bad weather forecast. She deemed it as a criminal act and stated that the government is committed to preventing such departures and tragedies, demanding maximum cooperation from the states of departure and origin.