Italy saves 300 migrants off Sicily including new-born

Migrants being helped ashore in Sicily, 19 Aug 13 Hundreds of migrants picked up at sea have arrived in Sicily this month

Related Stories

More than 300 migrants - most of them believed to be Syrians - have been rescued from two overcrowded boats off Sicily, Italian officials say.

A four-day-old girl born at sea was among the migrants, a coastguard commander said in the port of Syracuse.

The baby and her mother are in good health, the commander added.

The latest arrivals are among thousands who have made the hazardous crossing from North Africa to Italy or Malta in open boats this summer.

The baby girl was in a rickety fishing boat packed with 191 passengers. "We found her with the umbilical cord still attached," coastguard commander Luca Sancilio said.

The other boat was carrying about 150 migrants. It was also taken to Syracuse.

"There are now more Syrians than anyone else. This is a really dramatic exodus," said Mr Sancilio, who was quoted by the AFP news agency.

However, the nationalities of the migrants are still being verified as many do not have passports.

Malta influx

Late on Tuesday the Maltese armed forces rescued 102 men and 13 women from a dinghy - the second boatload of migrants to arrive in Malta in 24 hours.

Earlier 84 migrants were picked up from another dinghy off Malta.

Migrants arriving clandestinely by boat in EU states are assessed to see whether they have genuine grounds for seeking asylum in Europe.

Both Italy and Malta have urged their EU partners to do more to share the burden of housing irregular migrants.

Many boatloads have headed across the Mediterranean to escape turmoil and violence in North Africa since the Arab Spring erupted in 2011.


More on This Story

Related Stories

More Europe stories


Features & Analysis

  • SyedTanks instead of toys

    Lyse Doucet on the plight of children in Syria and Gaza

  • Silhouette of manSuper-shy

    Why do Germany's super-rich so often keep their heads down?

  • Gin drinkerMother's ruin

    The time was gin was full of sulphuric acid and turpentine

  • The two sisters in their bakery'Must be mad'

    Why two Spanish sisters started a bakery in a desert

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • EscaladeBling's the thing

    The ostentatious Cadillac Escalade cruises into 2015 with fuel-gulping gusto


  • A sun bearThe Travel Show Watch

    The Borneo sanctuary coming to rescue of the world’s smallest bear

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.