(QHA) - The European Union pleaded for extra funds from member countries to boost Mediterranean patrols across the entire sea in an effort to rescue any stricken boats loaded with asylum-seeking migrants from Africa and the Middle East, reports The Globe and Mail.
Tuesday’s plea came as divers brought up more bodies from the 20-metre vessel that sank within sight of land last Thursday morning near the Italian island of Lampedusa, which lies halfway between Sicily and Tunisia.
The Tunisian boat captain, Bensalem Khaled, 35, was charged by Italian police with multiple murders, causing a shipwreck and aiding clandestine immigration. He was transferred to a Sicilian prison.
As reported, the death toll rose to 275 Tuesday when another 18 bodies were recovered from the interior of the boat and a body was spotted floating nearby. About 500 migrants were said to have been jammed into the small vessel.
Cecilia Malstrom, the EU commissioner for home affairs, said she has obtained support from EU interior ministers to bolster the resources of Frontex, the border patrol agency for the 28 countries within the union.