Over two-dozen Pakistanis die after migrant ship crashes into rock in Italy, 12 still missing - GulfToday

Over two-dozen Pakistanis die after migrant ship crashes into rock in Italy, 12 still missing


Rescuers recover a body after a migrant boat broke apart in rough seas, at a beach near Cutro, southern Italy, on Sunday. AP

Gulf Today Report

At least 28 Pakistanis among 60 migrants died after their overloaded boat sank on Sunday in stormy seas off Italy’s southern Calabria region, media reported.

The vessel sank after it rammed against rocks during rough weather, the Adnkronos news agency said. The ill-fated vessel had passengers onboard from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia, local news agencies reported.

"As of a few minutes ago, the number of confirmed victims was 59," Vincenzo Voce, mayor of the coastal city of Crotone, told TV channel Sky TG-24 Sunday afternoon.

According to the Pakistani embassy in the Italian capital Rome— 40 Pakistanis were also on board the ill-fated boat.

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The mission also said that the bodies of 28 Pakistanis have been fished out of the sea by the rescue officials, however, 12 more citizens are still missing.

The Pakistani officials further said that they are in contact with the Italian authorities, volunteers and maritime agencies in this regard.

The embassy added that it is also in touch with the Pakistani community in the Calabria region and providing them with the latest information about the sad incident.

Meanwhile, Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said, “We are closely following the reports about possible presence of Pakistanis in the vessel that has capsized off the coast of Italy.”

Taking to Twitter, she said that the Pakistani embassy in Rome is in the process of ascertaining facts from the Italian authorities.


Later during the day, the European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen called for progress on a stalled reform of EU asylum rules after the deaths of more than 60 migrants off Italy, AFP reported.

Leyen tweeted that the deaths earlier on Sunday, when an overloaded boat carrying around 120 migrants sank, was a "tragedy" that left her "deeply saddened."

"We must redouble our efforts on the (EU) Pact on Migration and Asylum and on the Action Plan on the Central Mediterranean," she said.

According to the interior ministry, nearly 14,000 migrants have arrived in Italy by sea so far this year, up from 5,200 over the same period last year.

Charities rescuing people in danger at sea bring only a fraction of migrans ashore. Most of those who are rescued are plucked from the dangerous waters by Italian coastguards or the navy.

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