Italy phases out sea rescues to save migrants - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Italy phases out sea rescues to save migrants


 Italy is insisting that lives won't be sacrificed as it ends its costly Mediterranean Sea rescue operation and shifts over to a less ambitious joint patrol with the European Union.

   Italy launched the Mare Nostrum operation last year after 366 would-be migrants drowned off Sicily. Ships and aircraft involved in the 9.5 million-euro ($11.9 million) per month mission patrolled close to the Libyan coast, rescuing over 100,000 people.

   Italy has long insisted that Europe must do more to help shoulder floods of migrants. Mare Nostrum officially ended operations Friday and the EU's Frontex border control will begin its Tritone mission Saturday.

   Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said Italy will still honor its obligation to respond to ships in distress. But he said Frontex would be patrolling Europe's coast, not Libya's.

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