Migrant boat with 10 bodies arrives in Sicily

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Migrants are waiting to disembark the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) ship “Geo Barents” as it is allowed to dock in the Sicilian port of Augusta on June 18, 2021 after a week of waiting at sea in Augusta, Italy. REUTERS / Antonio Parrinello / Photo file

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ROME, Nov. 19 (Reuters) – A boat carrying the bodies of 10 migrants found dead at sea arrived in Sicily on Friday, along with dozens of people it rescued from trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea this week.

The crew of the Geo Barents ship, operated by Doctors Without Borders (MSF), found the bodies on an overcrowded boat 30 nautical miles off the Libyan coast.

They are believed to have died of suffocation after spending 13 hours on the boat’s lower deck where there was an intense smell of fuel, MSF said in a statement.

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Around 186 people rescued in three different operations in international waters will disembark in Messina, a port on the southern Italian island, Médecins Sans Frontières said.

Among the migrants – mostly from Africa – there are 61 minors, the youngest are just 10 months old.

“We hope they get all the help they need,” MSF said on Twitter, adding that the deceased will now have “a decent burial”.

Italy has seen a sharp surge in boat migrants in recent weeks and the recent mass arrivals will continue to put pressure on Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government to reach an agreement with European Union partners on how to deal with the influx.

According to the Interior Ministry, 59,702 migrants disembarked in Italy this year, up from 32,476 in the same period in 2020.

MSF said over 1,200 people died on the dangerous sea voyage to Europe in 2021.

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Reporting by Angelo Amante; Adaptation by Giles Elgood

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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