World Bulletin / News Desk
Nineteen migrants have suffocated to death after choking on fumes from an old engine aboard a crowded boat sailing from North Africa to Italy.
The migrants were trapped below deck, on a boat some 600 people, Italian news agency Ansa reported.
In the past month, at least 45 migrants have died after being crushed or asphyxiated aboard overcrowded boats.
EU border agency Frontex said almost 60,000 mainly African and Middle-Eastern migrants have already landed in southern Italy this year, often paying sums to smugglers in Libya and Tunisia to transport them in unsafe fishing vessels.
825 migrants on two boats were intercepted by the Italian navy on Friday, after at least 1,400 asylum-seekers on six boats crossing from Libya were intercepted the day earlier.
446 migrants on two boats managed to arrive on the island of Lampedusa on Friday after sneaking past coastguards.
Most who make it to Lampedusa immediate go to the island's asylum center, which is already overburdened and cannot handle so many migrants all at once, so migrants are usually taken to other ports in Sicily.Last Mod: 19 Temmuz 2014, 16:20