The enticement of cash and calm seas have embolden people smugglers to traffic migrants to Italian shore
Boatloads carrying about 4,800 migrants off the coast of Libya were plucked over the weekend with 10 bodies recovered. According to Italian coast guard and navy, this seems to be the biggest rescue operation of its kind this year following in what seems to be the worst Mediterranean shipwreck in living memory where almost 900 boat people drowned.
As people smugglers take advantage of calmer seas, it has caused an acceleration of inflow of people desperately dreaming of reaching a better life in Europe.
In a separate incident, 7 bodies were discovered on two large rubber boats packed with migrants, while rescuers fetched the corpses of another 3 who jumped into their watery grave upon sighting an approaching merchant ship, the coast guard said.
In an unconnected incident, Egyptian authorities said another three people died when a migrant boat sank off the coast of Greece after attempting to reach it, although, thirty-one people were rescued.
Around 10 Italian vessels, 4 private vessels and a French ship acting in behalf of the European border control agency partook in the rescue off Libya, in coordination with Italy, the country which receives the biggest load of Mediterranean migrants.
The private Migrant Offshore Aid Station, in partnership with Doctors Without Borders, posted on Twitter, it had so far saved 369 migrants, mainly from Eritrea, from a single overcrowded wooden boat.
The growing anarchy and lawlessness in Libya and calmer seas, have embolden people smugglers who make around 80,000 euros, roughly $90,000 from each boatload, disclosed an ongoing investigation by an Italian court.
Lana, the Libyan state news agency said on Sunday, 500 migrants were detained by authorities, aboard five boats off Tripoli and another 480 migrants, from the African nation, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia, were captured in a farm near the town of Jufra, while another 170 migrants were detained nearby.
Migrants rescued by Italian operations were being brought to the shores of Italy, while some already arrived at Lampedusa, the southernmost Italian island, and at Trapani, Sicily. With more rescued migrants brought ashore overnight on Monday.
For 2015 an estimated 200,000 arrivals is expected as the mild spring weather and calm summer seas will push an increase of 30,000 against last year, said an Interior Ministry projection. About an estimated 2,000 have perished already during the crossing this year.