At least three migrants, two men and a woman, died on Sunday, when a fire broke out on a boat carrying about 20 of them near Italy’s southern coast, police and health officials said. About five migrants have been wounded and taken to hospitals , health authorities said in Crotone ‘s Italian port city, adding that two of them are in a critical condition.
Two finance police officers were injured when they tried to steer the migrant ship to safety, AdnKronos news agency reportedly told commander Emilio Fiora. He said the ship’s engine caught fire and an explosion occurred. Fiora added that efforts were ongoing to make sure everyone was saved.
Italy used to be a major route for hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers and other migrants into Europe, but numbers dropped sharply following a crackdown on smugglers in Libya. However, a pick-up took place in 2020 while Rome has closed its ports to migrant vessels, claiming migrants can not be rescued because of the coronavirus crisis. Approximately 18,000 migrants have so far entered Italy’s shores in 2020, official statistics from the interior ministry revealed, compared to about 4,900 in the same timeframe in 2019.