Italian crews rescue 98 migrants who were at sea for 12 days
Italian crews have rescued a boat-load of migrants who say they were at sea for 12 days.
The rescue of the 98 passengers - a third of them women and three of them pregnant - was the latest as waves of migrants try to reach Europe on smugglers' boats.
The Italian border patrol police said yesterday its Monte Cimone ship intercepted the 50-metre migrant boat about 200 miles off Sicily. Passengers reported having been at sea for 12 days, the last two adrift and without food or water and with the ship's hold flooded.
Some European Union leaders have proposed a UN-blessed operation to destroy smugglers' boats before they are used. The idea, however, raises a host of legal implications, and Russia - which has veto power at the Security Council - has already opposed it.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon agreed, saying destroying the ships could affect Libya's legitimate boat owners.
"Addressing the root causes of this issue may take a longer time, but it is the way to address it comprehensively," Mr Ban said after going out on an Italian rescue patrol last week.