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Migrants Continue To Arrive Off Coast Of Sicily

posted 7 Oct 2013, 05:53 by Mpelembe   [ updated 7 Oct 2013, 05:54 ]

Italian coast guard releases video of 163 Syrian and Egyptian migrants arriving on Italian shores.

SYRACUSE, SICILYITALY  (OCTOBER 06, 2013) (COAST GUARD HANDOUT) -  Italy's coast guard on Monday (October 7) said officers had intercepted yet another migrant vessel off Sicily.

Video released by the coast guard showed the migrants arriving in Sicily's town of Syracuse on Sunday (October 6) on board a coast guard vessel and being helped to disembark in port.

The migrants, 163 in total, included 54 women and 55 minors, the coast guard said by telephone.

Most of the migrants came from Syria but the group also included some Egyptian nationals, the coast guard added.

The arrival comes as Italian search teams in Lampedusa confirmed they had recovered 194 bodies from a migrant boat that sank off the Italian island last week.

The boat, carrying around 500 mainly Eritrean and Somali migrants, capsized and sank on Thursday (October 3), throwing hundreds into the water. 155 survivors were rescued and more than 300 are feared dead.

The disaster has underscored the human cost of Europe's immigration crisis and the role of human trafficking gangs in exploiting vulnerable migrants desperate to reach Europe.

At the height of the migrant influx in 2011, when over 62,000 arrived in Italy, dozens of boats carrying hundreds and even thousands of people were arriving in Sicilyevery day.

Although the numbers have declined, arrivals have continued, leading to a renewed debate in Europe over the wisdom of pouring money into extra sea patrols, radar systems and holding centres.