Italian navy rescues 233 migrants south of Sicily

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Associated Press

Posted on January 2, 2014 at 9:03 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 2 at 10:31 AM

ROME (AP) — The Italian navy has rescued 233 migrants from an overcrowded smugglers' boat in rough seas south of Sicily.

The navy said one of its frigates was bringing the migrants — who were from Pakistan, Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia, Zambia and Mali — into a Sicilian port on Thursday. They were initially rescued by another naval vessel on Wednesday night some 80 miles (130 kilometers) south of the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa.

It said the migrants had been spotted in a 10-meter (33-foot) boat without any life vests.

Each year, thousands of African, Asian or Middle Eastern migrants attempt risky voyages across the Mediterranean Sea in unseaworthy boats, and hundreds die en route. Unless they are eligible for asylum or have families or jobs in Europe, they risk expulsion by Italy.

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