The Italian Coast Guard says With the return of calm seas, migrant smugglers launched dozens of boats from Tunisia during the weekend and some 1,200 people ended up on a tiny Italian island while several were reported missing at sea.
Coast guard officials said in a statement that they responded to 35 boats that had left Tunisia, three of which came to grief.
According to the coast guard, in one shipwreck some 20 nautical miles off Lampedusa island coast guard and border police vessels said three migrants were missing. In a second, in Malta’s search-and-rescue area, survivors said some 20 people were missing, while in the third, also in Malta’s rescue area, Italian rescuers recovered a man’s body.
The coast guard said air and naval assets of the Coast Guard, the Border Police, the European border protection agency Frontex as well as a humanitarian organization were involved in the assistance.
Dozens of the migrants sat Monday morning near Lampedusa’s port, awaiting transfer to the island’s overcrowded shelter or eventually to Sicily or the Italian mainland.