Italian patrol ships found a steerless boat with 539 migrants off the coast of the island of Lampedusa. The passengers were taken to the shelter on the island.
The discovery was made yesterday, about 15 kilometers from the coast. The fishing boat was overcrowded and bobbled around steerlessly, Italian media report. Among the 539 sailing are at least 29 minors.
The sailing are mostly from North and West Africa, as well as Bangladesh and Syria. According to a doctor from Doctors Sans Frontières, it seems that at least 20 of them have been mistreated in Libya, where human smugglers make money from people who want to cross the Mediterranean Sea.
Boat migrants arrive at Lampedusa regularly, but rarely there are so many at once. The shelter on the island can accommodate up to 300 people. After the arrival of yesterdays migrants, there are five times more.