Italian navy pulls nearly 3,000 African migrants to safety

2014-05-31 13:31:34 GMT2014-05-31 21:31:34(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

ROME, May 31 (Xinhua) -- Italian navy pulled nearly 3,000 African sea migrants to safety early on Saturday, local reports said.

Four vessels were taking part in the high-seas rescue operation, transferring to Sicily Island, in southern Italy, at least 2,800 migrants, according to Rai state television.

Hundreds of migrants land in the Mediterranean country almost every day, most of them from Eritrea, Somalia and Syria.

Many are now being rescued by Italy's navy after the Italian government launched a sea patrol mission to prevent more fatalities following a dramatic shipwreck which killed more than 300 migrants last year.

Italian authorities have said that over 30,000 sea migrants are estimated to have safely landed in the country since the patrol mission was started in October.

Rescue operations for the sea patrol mission officially cost the Italian government more than 9 million euros (12.3 million U.S. dollars) every month.

Italian authorities have repeatedly exposed the unsustainable overcrowded conditions in the country's migrant centers and demanded support from the European Union (EU) in dealing with the unbearable emergency.

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