Saturday, May 28, 2011

At least 400 North African illegal immigrants arrive in Italy in three boats

About 400 immigrants from North Africa on Friday reached the coast of Italy on three barges, two of which were headed towards the island of Lampedusa and the third to the town of Pantelleria southwest of Sicily. One boat, with 247 people on board and from Libya, was intercepted about 50 miles from Lampedusa when he was adrift and about to sink because it came plenty of water, the Guardia di Finanza reported.

The passengers were transferred to three ships of the Port Authority and a patrol boat of the Guardia di Finanza (Financial Police), before the boat sank, they said. The refugees, including 16 women and five children, were taken to the shelter of the island, where there are another 300 illegal immigrants, most of them Tunisians waiting to be repatriated.

Shortly after, another boat with hundreds of immigrants who came from Tunisia was towed by a patrol boat of the Guardia di Finanza south of the island of Lampedusa, officials said. Another 55 immigrants, including a woman, traveling in a boat and also from Tunisia were aided by the Coast Guard a few miles from Pantelleria, a town southwest of the island of Sicily.

A fourth boat was sighted in Libyan waters about a hundred miles south of Lampedusa, Italian island that has become the gateway for immigration from North Africa to Europe. The latest arrivals were recorded which occurred on May 19, when 500 immigrants traveling by boat from Libya reached the coast of the island.

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