World

At least 11 people dead and 64 missing after two ships sink off Italian coast

Survivors and people still missing at sea came from Iran, Syria and Iraq, the UN agencies said.

Some of the migrants saved from the sea after their boat sank in the Mediterranean between Italy and Greece early on Monday (Valeria Ferraro/AP)
Some of the migrants saved from the sea after their boat sank in the Mediterranean between Italy and Greece early on Monday (Valeria Ferraro/AP) (Valeria Ferraro/AP)

Sixty-four people were missing at sea after a shipwreck off the Italian southern coast on Monday, while 11 were rescued and taken ashore to a Calabrian town, United Nations’ agencies said.

In a separate shipwreck, rescue workers found 10 bodies of suspected migrants trapped below the deck of a wooden boat off Italy’s tiny Lampedusa island, the German aid group Resqship wrote on Monday on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

In the first shipwreck, which took place about 200km (125 miles) off Calabria, a boat that had set off from Turkey eight days earlier caught fire and overturned, the UN agencies said, citing survivors.

The search-and-rescue operation started following a Mayday call by a French boat, the Italian Coast Guard said in a statement. The boat was sailing in a border area where Greece and Italy carry out search-and-rescue operations.

Survivors and people still missing at sea came from Iran, Syria and Iraq, the UN agencies said.

The Italian Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre immediately diverted two merchant vessels sailing nearby to the scene of the rescue. Assets from the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex also helped.

The survivors were brought to the Calabrian port of Roccella Jonica, where they were handed over to medical personnel. One of the migrants died soon afterwards, the coast guard said.

In the second shipwreck, the crew aboard Resqship’s boat, the Nadir, found 61 people on the wooden boat, which was full of water.

“Our crew was able to evacuate 51 people, two of whom were unconscious,” it added. “The 10 dead were in the flooded lower deck of the boat.”