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THOUSANDS SAVED IN THE MED

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Migrants From Conflicts in Africa Feel to Europe
By Harold Hutchison

Etna, which at one point had over 1300 refugees on board.
(U.S. Navy photo)

Italian and American forces were among those who rescued over 5,000 people this past weekend from the Mediterranean Sea. The migrants were fleeing conflicts across Africa and the Middle East.

According to a report from VOA News, the rescue operations have involved major assets from the Marina Militarie, including one of its newest warships, the Carlo Bergamini, the lead ship of Italy’s Fregata europea multi-missione program. The Bergamini rescued 554 migrants – over two and a half times the ship’s complement of 1999. The Italian Navy’s replenishment ship Etna has over 1300 refugees on board.

The United States Navy was also involved in rescuing migrants seeking to reach southern Europe. The amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), a Wasp-class vessel, teamed up with the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Elrod (FFG 55), to rescue 282 migrants. Five of the migrants had to be medevaced.

USS Elrod assisting in SAR operations in the Mediterranean Sea.
(U.S. Navy photo)

Many of the migrants are making the journey on overcrowded vessels that depart from Libya, which has been unstable since dictator Muammar Qaddafi was toppled in 2011. Both Italy and Malta, members of the European Union, are being overwhelmed by the surge of migrants, many of whom are seeking to make their way to other European countries.