The Italian Navy, along with the Icelandic Coast Guard, managed to rescue some 360 migrants who were left adrift at sea off Italy’s southern coast.
Ezadeen, the ageing Sierra Leone-flagged vessel, had been left in stormy seas without fuel or electricity.
Due to rough weather, the crew of the Icelandic vessel Tyr, currently engaged in European Union’s Frontex mission, was lowered from a helicopter onto the deck of Ezadeen to aid the migrants and secure the vessel for a 40km tow.
With the assistance of the Italian Navy, Ezadeen was towed to the Italian coast, and docked in the port of Corigliano Calabro later on Friday.
Sky News writes that the passengers stated they were flown from Lebanon to Turkey, from where they set sail on December 31. The crew members were reportedly masked during the journey.
Most of the rescued migrants are believed to be Syrian.
A few days earlier the Italian authorities intercepted a Moldovan-flagged cargo vessel, Blue Sky M, also left adrift with nearly 800 migrants aboard. The crewless vessel was only eight kilometres away from the coast and in danger of running aground.
Naval Today Staff, Image: Italian Navy