Libya migrants attempt crossing as weather calms, Nigerian baby girl born

Libya migrants attempt crossing as weather calms, Nigerian baby girl born
by Martin Jay

8 June 2015 | 11:44

Source: by Martin Jay

  • by Martin Jay
  • Source: Martin Jay
  • Last update: 8 June 2015 | 11:44

The weekend saw an unprecedented number of African migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to reach Italy.
The Italian Coastguard says nearly 6,000 migrants have been rescued and 10 bodies recovered off the Libyan coast over the weekend.

BBC reports that thousands of migrants were picked from both wooden and rubber boats in 17 separate operations by Italian and French authorities.

More than 2,000 were rescued yesterday afternoon (Sunday) who are now in Italy as rescue operations continued through to Monday.

A baby girl born after her mother went into labour while being rescued from a boat in the Mediterranean has been named Francesca Marina as a tribute to the Italian Navy (Marina Militare).

Crew from the Italian navy ship Bettica found the Nigerian woman in labour on a boat – one of 34 vessels intercepted over the weekend.

According to a number of reports, the baby has been named Francesca Marina after Italy's Marina Militare navy
Other reports estimate that closer to 7,000 migrants were rescued from overcrowded boats crossing the Mediterranean to Europe over the weekend and on Monday. The survivors were rescued on the seas north of Libya from overcrowded rubber dinghies and rickety fishing boats sent out by people smugglers who make an average of $90,000 from each boatload.

Improved weather conditions in the area over the past few days are reported to have caused a surge in the number of people attempting to make the trip on overloaded boats.
It comes amid increased EU efforts to prevent migrant deaths, with leaders agreeing to triple funding for naval searches in the Mediterranean Sea.

Last month, Ireland offered to contribute one naval vessel to the efforts, while Britain has committed three ships to move into the Mediterranean, and Germany and France have pledged two.
Other member states also lined up more vessels and helicopters that could be used to rescue migrants, officials said.

There are also plans under international law to capture and destroy boats before they can be used for human trafficking and the EU will target smuggling networks.

But so far the idea has not managed to get off the starting blocks as UN protocol dictates that the Libyan government itself must agree to it, which they have failed to do, leaving the EU foreign policy chief disappointed that her bold plan remains only a notion on paper.

More than 1,700 people have died this year attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

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