Migrants rescued after fire on Italy ferry
September 30, 2023 01:20 PM
Over 100 passengers, including migrants, were rescued from a ferry sailing from Italy's Lampedusa to Sicily early Saturday, after a fire broke out in the engine room, authorities said.
The ferry from Lampedusa to Porto Empedocle in southern Sicily was carrying 177 people, including 27 crew members and 83 migrants, who were being transferred from the small island, the Coast Guard said.
Many migrants land on Lampedusa after making the dangerous Mediterranean crossing by boat, before being transferred to reception centres elsewhere.
A recent surge of landings on the island has pushed the migration issue to the top of the European agenda, with Italy's hard-right government demanding more help from the EU.
More than 130,000 migrants have arrived on Italy's shores so far this year, almost double the number last year, according to interior ministry figures.
The passengers Saturday were brought to safety and put onto patrol vessels for transfer to Sicily or back to Lampedusa, the Coast Guard said.
The ferry, which is inoperable, will be towed to port with its crew aboard, it said.