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Refugees stranded for 30 hours before rescue in Mediterranean

A hundred refugees and migrants crammed into a small dinghy that started taking in water in the Mediterranean endured an agonising 30-hour wait before they were rescued, a maritime log passed to the Guardian has revealed.

The incident happened over the Easter weekend, the unofficial start of the “sailing season”, which sees increased numbers of people attempting the crossing from Africa to Europe as the weather improves. Twenty children and 10 women, one of them pregnant, were among the passengers on the overcrowded dinghy.

The log was passed to the Guardian by Watch The Med’s Alarmphone network, an NGO which passes distress calls from migrant boats to the Italian coastguard so that a rescue can be coordinated. It details the passengers’ rising panic as more and more time passes without a rescue ship arriving.

Watch The Med was first alerted to the fact that the rubber boat was in trouble at 7.19am on Saturday morning, when it immediately alerted the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Rome, providing a satellite phone number and the GPS position so that the stranded people could be rescued.(theguardian)…[+]