ROME: A boat carrying the bodies of 10 migrants found dead at sea arrived in Sicily on Friday, November 19, along with dozens of people it rescued this week as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean.
The crew of the Geo Barents ship, run by the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) association, found the bodies on an overcrowded boat 30 nautical miles from the Libyan coast.
They are said to have suffocated to death after spending 13 hours on the lower deck of the boat where there was an intense smell of fuel, MSF said in a statement.
Some 186 people rescued in three separate operations in international waters will disembark in Messina, a port on the island in southern Italy, MSF said.
The migrants – mostly from Africa – include 61 minors, the youngest being only 10 months old.
“We hope that they will receive all the help they need,” MSF said on Twitter, adding that those who died would now receive “a decent burial”.
Italy has seen a sharp increase in the number of migrants by boat in recent weeks and the latest massive arrivals will put further pressure on Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government to secure an agreement with European Union partners on how to manage the influx.
Some 59,702 migrants have landed in Italy this year, according to data from the Interior Ministry, up from 32,476 during the same period in 2020.
MSF said more than 1,200 people had died during the perilous sea voyage to reach Europe so far in 2021.