Italian Navy rescues more than 200 migrants

ROME -- The Italian Navy has rescued more than 200 migrants from a boat off the island of Lampedusa, it was announced on Thursday

(Beta/AP)
(Beta/AP)

"Due to rough seas, a large number of persons on board, and unsafe conditions on the boat, last night about 20:00 hours an urgent rescue operation was launched," a statement said.

The boat carried 233 immigrants from Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia, Zambia and Pakistan, among whom seven women, and they were all taken to the port of Augusta in Sicily.

Some 400 immigrants died in October when two of their boats sank near Lampedusa. The victims included women and children.

The Italian government then launched a major operation, Mare Nostrum (Our Sea), and mobilized warships and other equipment in order to avoid further tragedies.