Spanish NGO rescues 73 irregular migrants in Mediterranean

Spanish NGO rescues 73 irregular migrants in Mediterranean

Number of irregular migrants who have reached Italy by sea since start of year has reached 86,132

By Aysu Bicer and Barıs Seckin

LONDON/ROME (AA) - The Spanish non-governmental organization Open Arms said Monday that a total of 73 irregular migrants who had set off from Libya on two boats were rescued a few days ago.

"Now they are safe on board the #OpenArms, which is heading towards the port of Naples, designated by the Italian authorities for their disembarkation," it said in a statement on Twitter.

"The Mediterranean is in charge of reminding us that there is a reality a few kilometers from our homes that EU governments and institutions do not want to see: that of thousands of people who risk their lives at sea to flee violence, abuse and poverty," it added.

The number of irregular migrants who have reached Italy by sea since the beginning of the year has reached 86,132.

In the irregular migration flow towards Europe, the Central Mediterranean route has stood out as one of the heavily trafficked paths in recent years.

On this route, irregular migrants who send distress calls at sea are often rescued by European-based civil society organizations.

These NGOs sometimes face difficulties in disembarking the rescued migrants due to the refusal of European Union member states to provide a "safe harbor."

Usually, the first landfall in Europe for irregular migrants who manage to cross the Mediterranean or those who are rescued is Lampedusa Island, the closest land mass of Italy to North Africa.

Every year, a significant number of irregular migrants lose their lives while attempting to cross the Mediterranean due to their boats capsizing or being stranded in overcrowded boats without enough water.

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