Icelandic Coast Guard vessel Týr brought 320 refugees to land at the town of Pozzallo in Sicily over Easter after reaching their wooden boat, which was leaking, off the coast of Libya on April 3, ruv.is reports.
On board Týr. Photos: Icelandic Coast Guard.
According to Icelandic National Broadcasting Service RÚV, which had journalist Gísli Einarsson and cameraman Karl Sigtryggsson on board at the time, the refugees were from Palestine, Pakistan, Ghana and Libya, among other countries. Children and two pregnant women were in the group. The individuals Gísli spoke with said that they had paid around USD 1,000 (ISK 140,000) to cross the Mediterranean by boat.
Týr has rescued several hundred refugees in the Mediterranean since early December.
Týr and the Icelandic Coast Guard’s surveillance aircraft Dash 8 are carrying out assignments for Frontex, the European Union’s external borders agency.
A record number of refugees died attempting to cross the Mediterranean in 2014. More than 3,400 people perished in the waters off Europe last year, according to UNHCR. A total of 207,000 made the journey, three times as many as in 2011, which was a record year. The largest group was from Syria, or 60,000 individuals.