The Italian coast guard carried out the rescue of a fishing boat with 339 migrants on board in front of the municipality of Rocella Ionica on the coast of Calabria on Saturday, the agency announced on Monday.
The Coast Guard said the boat leaving the Libyan city of Tobruk was rescued in adverse weather conditions “which worsened significantly”. The migrants were transferred to the port of Crotona hours later.
In addition to the coast guard, a naval unit of the Romanian border police also participated in the rescue, which was present in the area of surveillance activities under the umbrella of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex).
Migrants head to the coasts of North Africa, particularly Libya and Tunisia, to reach the European Union, where they seek refuge or a better life. Boats often capsize during the dangerous journey and many people are killed.
The United Nations estimates that nearly 1,180 migrants have disappeared or are believed to have died while crossing the central Mediterranean this year.