When this ship reached Italian waters, it carried not only dreams and hope, but also death and tragedy. Nearly 600 immigrants packed the feeble boat. It's precarious shell hid a horrifying ordeal. As the ship made the trek across the Mediterranean, 30 people confined to a tiny space within the hull suffocated.
When the Italian Navy reached the boat, they transferred the surviving immigrants to a rescue boat, then to a Navy ship.
They had been drifting along the Strait of Sicily, which separates the Italian island from Tunisian coasts.
In the weekend alone, the Italian military rescued 5,000 immigrants, seeking refuge from war and poverty in Europe. So far this year, patrol crews have rescued some 60,000 people along the Mediterranean.
Many more have died along the way. The greatest tragedy remains the 360 people that drowned this past October when their boat caught fire an capsized off the coast of Lampedusa.
Pope Francis himself visited that island, in southern Italy, almost a year ago. He appealed for an end to these tragedies, and so that the world does not remain indifferent. He also honored all the men, women and children that lost their lives to the treacherous waters of the Mediterranean, in search of a better future.
Marina Militare Italiana