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IANS - ROME
Published: 11th October 2013 05:44 PM
Last Updated: 11th October 2013 05:44 PM
The Italian coast guard rescued a total of 503 migrants in the southern Mediterranean overnight and escorted them to several Sicilian ports.Three merchant ships helped the coast guard intercept and rescue the migrants between Libya and Malta after passengers aboard five boats made SOS calls from satellite phones.A total of 118 of the migrants disembarked at Porto Empedocle Friday while 210 more were due to arrive at Trapani and 175 came ashore at Syracuse.There were no initial reports on the identity of the migrants and whether they included women and children.A boat with over 500 African migrants on board caught fire Oct 3 and sank off the southern Italian island of Lampedusa. Over 300 migrants including women and children drowned in the tragedy.It prompted the European Union to announce plans to launch a major search and rescue operation across the Mediterranean by its borders management agency Frontex.
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