An Italian coast guard cutter | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA/UFFICIO STAMPA GUARDIA COSTIERA
An Italian coast guard cutter | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA/UFFICIO STAMPA GUARDIA COSTIERA

The bodies of three migrants have been recovered at sea some 40 miles south of Trapani, Sicily. Coast guards said they are continuing to search for missing passengers.

More deaths have been recorded along the migratory route crossing the Strait of Sicily. Three bodies were recovered on Tuesday, October 11, in the Italian Search and Rescue zone, some 40 miles south-west of Trapani. A man was rescued at sea.

The search for potentially missing passengers of a boat believed to have departed from Tunisia is ongoing, coast guards said. More than 1,400 people have already been reported dead and missing in the Mediterranean in 2022, including 84% in the Central Mediterranean.

A merchant ship on Monday first sighted and rescued the migrant at sea and recovered a dead body. The boat contacted the operational center of coast guards in Rome, which organized the search operation in the area.

Coast guards in Palermo, which coordinated the operation, sent cutters from Mazara del Vallo and Trapani and ordered the deployment of the 'Manta' aircraft of the coast guards, and helicopters of finance police and the Navy. A merchant ship in the area also joined search operations. Once they reached the location, the cutters recovered two additional bodies while the search for missing passengers continues, the sources said.

74 asylum seekers reallocated to Germany

Landings have risen significantly this year: 74,000 since January 1 against 48,000 over the same period in 2021 (+65%). While waiting for the new center-right government, which has promised a hard line to fight migrant flows, a second operation was carried out by the outgoing interior ministry on Tuesday -- in coordination with the European Union Agency for Asylum and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) -- under the European voluntary solidarity mechanism.

As part of the mechanism approved with a political statement adopted on June 10 in Luxembourg by the European Home Affairs Council, 74 asylum seekers departed from Italy to be relocated to Germany. The first asylum seekers were transferred to France in August.

Before the relocation operation, Italian authorities first identified, photographed and carried out health checks and controls to determine potential beneficiaries, according to the measures approved by the European Commission and the States involved in the mechanism.

Also, the operation was preceded by the proposal of redistribution of international protection applicants by the EU Agency for Asylum, by the analysis of individual dossiers and by interviews carried out by German officials.

New relocations being prepared

The interior ministry informed that over the coming weeks a new delegation of German officials will travel to Italy to verify the composition of a new group of migrants who will be relocated to Germany.

In addition, a second French mission will be carried out, involving an additional 50 asylum seekers, the ministry added. Activities are ongoing for the transfer of more asylum seekers to other countries in the European Union.

The interior ministry said these are "the first steps of a widely supported program in Europe which will be progressively implemented to give full and concrete fulfillment to the political statement approved on June 10 in Luxembourg."

The interior ministry recalled that the agreement, which provides for the "reallocation of migrants mainly selected among people rescued at sea following SAR operations in the central Mediterranean and along the western Atlantic route, was shared by 18 member States and there European Union associates."

 

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