ROME: A boat carrying about 500 migrants, including a new born baby and pregnant women, has disappeared in the central Mediterranean, two charities said on Friday.
Alarm Phone, a group that picks up calls from migrant vessels in distress, said it lost contact with the boat on Wednesday morning.
At the time, the boat was adrift, with no working engine, in high seas about 320 km (200 miles) north of the Libyan port of Benghazi and more than 400 km away from Malta or Italy’s southern island of Sicily.
Italian NGO Emergency said on Thursday its Life Support ship and the Ocean Viking, another charity vessel, had unsuccessfully looked for the missing boat for 24 hours, but found no sign of any shipwreck.
A spokesperson for Emergency said on Friday the search was still on, adding that the migrants might have been picked up by another boat or may have managed to fix their engine and continue sailing towards Sicily.
The Italian Coast Guard reported on Thursday the rescue of 423 and 671 migrants in two separate operations and Alarm Phone said they were unrelated to the missing boat.
Published in Dawn, May 27TH, 2023