14 migrants die heading from Africa to Italy

The incident is the latest in which African migrants attempt to find asylum in European Union countries.
By Ed Adamczyk Follow @adamczyk_ed Contact the Author   |   May 12, 2014 at 12:05 PM

SALERNO , Italy, May 12 (UPI) -- The Italian Navy rescued about 200 people from a sinking migrant ship Monday, but at least 14 people died.

The ship sank about 100 miles off the coast of southern Italy, and was overloaded with African and Middle Eastern migrants, fleeing poverty and violence in typically unsafe and overcrowded boats, for European Union countries. Italy, and in particular the Italian island of Lampedusa in the Mediterranean Sea, are frequent destinations.

The incident came after a boat carrying migrants sank Sunday off the Libyan coast, killing at least 40 people.

The Italian Navy said 2,000 migrants were rescued in the past five days. The European Union border agency Frontex said tens of thousands are rescued in the Mediterranean annually.

The rescue operation initiated by the Italian government, called "Mare Nostrum," has saved the lives of over 20,000 migrants since October 2013, the United Nations' relief agency said. Nearly 43,000 migrants arrived by sea to Italy in 2013, it added.

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