Italian navy rescues asylum seekers

The Italian Navy says it rescued more than a thousand asylum seekers who risked drowning in the Mediterranean over the weekend.

The Italian Navy says it rescued 1079 asylum seekers who risked drowning in the Mediterranean, in several operations conducted over the weekend.

It says 507 people were picked up south of the island of Lampedusa on Sunday morning alone.

Two navy vessels, one with 816 people on board and a second with 263, were transporting the rescued migrants to mainland Sicily, the navy said.

Each year, tens of thousands flee conflict or poverty in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, searching for refuge in the European Union. Italy is a key transit country for them.

In October, Roman authorities stepped up sea patrols after two shipwrecks - one off Lampedusa, Italy's southern outpost, and another in Maltese waters.

At least 400 people died in the two accidents, the most serious in recent European history.

Source AAP

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch