Over 4500 People Rescued in Annual Migrant Trek By Italy

Over 4500 people in dozens of incidents were rescued this weekend by the Italian Navy
as the annual migrant trek of refugees from Libya to Italy continues this year. Many of the fleeing immigrants were in tiny wooden boats or rubber dinghies, which even though they were meant to only travel with a few people, were crammed full of the desperate crowds of people during this annual migrant trek.

Italian authorities from the Italian Coast Guard also took part in the rescues, which were happening off the coast of one of the southern islands of Italy, Lampedusa. More than around 1,500 people in two separate incidents regarding the annual migrant trek were pulled out of the waters by the Bersagliere, one of the frigates from the Italian naval forces.

Rescue during annual migrant trek an international effort

Not only were the Italians busy rescuing people during the annual migrant trek, a vessel from France, the Commandant Birot, was on patrol and made its travel around the area, and was able to save more than 200 immigrants, as well as to arrest two people smugglers.

The people smugglers are in part the cause of this annual migrant trek, in which thousands of individuals try to travel across the Mediterranean Sea to seek out a better life in Italy and other coastal nations. Italian authorities are currently undergoing investigations to capture and punish the smugglers.

The smugglers charge them large sums of money, yet they end up in the small crafts, thus causing the need for their rescue when the sea gets rough or the vessels capsize due to being overcrowded and over weighted with people and goods. According to officials, the smugglers make about €80,000 ($90,000 in US funds) from each boat full of the migrants.

The independent Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) added its efforts to help and rescued about 100 people from a rubber dingy. The MOAS is run by Italian-Americans who work with the medical group, the Medecines Sans Frontieres (MSF) to help provide aid and services during the annual migrant trek to freedom.

Calm Weather Brings out More During Annual Migrant Trek

Officials said that this year there have been record numbers during the annual migrant trek due to mild spring weather and calm seas, with the number of immigrants estimated who have so far attempted the travel in 2015 at more than 30,000 more than last year. So far, around 200,000 migrants have arrived in Italy seeking aid.

Many of the people that try to travel across the Mediterranean Sea never make it, with this year along more than 900 people have drowned attempting the annual migrant trek to escape persecution and war in Libya.