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Italy: This cargo ship was carrying 970 Syrian refugees off Italian coast00:20

Italy: This cargo ship was carrying 970 Syrian refugees off Italian coast

Italy, Gallipoli
December 31, 2014 at 10:31 GMT +00:00 · Published

A cargo ship with an estimated 970 Syrian and Kurdish refugees fleeing continued bloodshed and conflict in their homeland was left abandoned at sea by traffickers on Tuesday, with the Italian coast guard intervening on Wednesday at Gallipoli.

The intervention came after the ship's 'captain' allegedly denied needing assistance after the Italian Coast Guard responded to a distress call from Corfu. The tracking of the cargo ship shows the vehicle made a swift turn to the west towards Italy at the same time the distress call was made.

The cargo ship was found to have no captain or crew on board as well as no drinking water, food or blankets. The Italian Red Cross treated at least 35 for hypothermia and all 970 migrants were transported from the site in coaches.

The UNHCR on Wednesday described the Mediterranean crossing from Africa to Europe as the "most lethal route in the world" after announcing 3,419 migrants died in 2014 alone in attempting to make the journey. The refugee agency reports 4,272 migrants died globally in risky sea crossings throughout from a total of 348,000 migrants.

Italy: This cargo ship was carrying 970 Syrian refugees off Italian coast00:20
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A cargo ship with an estimated 970 Syrian and Kurdish refugees fleeing continued bloodshed and conflict in their homeland was left abandoned at sea by traffickers on Tuesday, with the Italian coast guard intervening on Wednesday at Gallipoli.

The intervention came after the ship's 'captain' allegedly denied needing assistance after the Italian Coast Guard responded to a distress call from Corfu. The tracking of the cargo ship shows the vehicle made a swift turn to the west towards Italy at the same time the distress call was made.

The cargo ship was found to have no captain or crew on board as well as no drinking water, food or blankets. The Italian Red Cross treated at least 35 for hypothermia and all 970 migrants were transported from the site in coaches.

The UNHCR on Wednesday described the Mediterranean crossing from Africa to Europe as the "most lethal route in the world" after announcing 3,419 migrants died in 2014 alone in attempting to make the journey. The refugee agency reports 4,272 migrants died globally in risky sea crossings throughout from a total of 348,000 migrants.

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