400 migrants die in the Med, Greece plans mainland reception centres

London: Around 400 migrants died when their boat capsized while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Italy on Tuesday.

Rescuers brought 150 survivors, most of whom are sub-Saharan Africans, to a port in southern Italy on Tuesday morning, according to reports from Save the Children.

Nine migrants died and 5,629 were saved over the weekend and another 2,851 migrants were rescued on Monday, the Italian coastguard told press. Over 500 migrants have died while attempting the crossing so far this year.

Migrant traffickers in a speed boat reportedly fired shots into the air on Tuesday to prevent their wooden boat being confiscated. The speed boat sped away with the empty migrant boat after rescuers had offloaded the 250 people it was carrying, close to the Libyan coast, EU border control agency Frontex told press.

On April 8, a consortium of shipowners and seafarer organisations urged EU member states to take immediate collective action to address the growing humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean.

Greece to establish migrant shelters

The Greek government says it plans to create shelters on the mainland to deal with an influx of illegal migrants arriving on the shores of its islands. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss the issue on Tuesday.

Over 700 migrants and refugees, mainly Syrians and Africans, arrived in Greece between Friday and Tuesday. The island of Lesbos received around 500 of them.

Greek authorities will seek additional buildings and land to set up the “reception centres”, which will separate refugees and economic migrants.

“If the flow of migrants continues at this pace, we will have 100,000 arrivals by the end of 2015,” immigration minister Tasia Christodoulopoulou told Greece’s Mega television.

The number of illegal migrants arriving in Greece by sea has tripled compared to last year, with 10,445 migrants arriving in the first three months of 2015, compared with 2,863 in the same period in 2014.



Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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