France's President Urges EU Ministers Meeting over Med Incident

World | April 19, 2015, Sunday // 16:14|  views

Personnel at work in the operations room of the Italian Coast Guard in Rome, Italy, 19 April 2015 during the coordination of relief efforts after a ship carrying hundreds of migrants capsizes off Libyan coast occurred in the Strait of Sicily.

French President Francois Hollande has called on European interior and foreign ministers to gather for an urgent meeting after a boat with up to 700 migrants capsized in the Mediterranean.

In an interview with France's Canal+, Hollande said urgent measures are needed to tackle "this kind of [people] trafficking, because those who bring people onto such ships are traffickers, even terrorists," Hollande warned.

He said the number of vessels and aerial vehicles patrolling Mediterranean waters and the air above, respectively, should be swiftly increased.

Twenty ships and three helicopters are taking part in a rescue operation off the coast of Libya south of the Italian island of Lampedusa.

Earlier reports by the Times of Malta suggest the migrants piled up on one side of the ship (which they were using to make it to Italy) in order to attract the attention of a Portugal-flagged ship.

Italy is to hold its own emergency cabinet meeting at 16:00 CET.

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Tags: Italy, migrants, francois hollande, ship, trafficking, Lampedusa, capsized


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