Dozens dead in migrant shipwreck off Italian coast

At least 43 migrants drowned on Sunday after the fishing boat on which they were traveling sank off the coast of the Italian region of Calabria.

According to local authorities, some 250 migrants were crammed aboard the ship, which broke in two about 20 kilometers from the city of Crotone. Over 100 passengers have been rescued, but at least 70 of the people who were aboard the ship remain missing.

Over the course of the morning, bodies, including those of children and at least one newborn baby, have washed ashore in the resort town of Steccato di Cutro, according to local reports.

Although the ship’s port of origin was in Turkey, authorities say the majority of the migrants that have been rescued are from Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi said the disaster was “a huge tragedy that demonstrates how necessary it is to oppose the chains of irregular migration,” adding that more needed to be done to clamp down on “unscrupulous smugglers” who, “in order to get rich, organize improvised trips with inadequate boats and in prohibitive conditions.”

Calabrian President Roberto Occhiuto slammed EU authorities for their inaction in addressing the migration crisis and asked “what has the European Union been doing all these years?”

“Where is Europe when it comes to guaranteeing security and legality?” he asked, adding that regions like his were left on their own to “manage emergencies and mourn the dead.”

According to the International Organization for Migration’s Missing Migrants Project, at least 2,366 migrants lost their lives attempting to cross the Mediterranean last year; at least 124 have been reporting missing in its waters since the beginning of this year.

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