[June 30, 2014]ROME (Reuters) - As many as 30
migrants were found dead on a boat packed with people off the coast of
Sicily, said Italy's navy which rescued thousands more trying to cross
from North Africa over the weekend.
The dead are thought to have either drowned or suffocated on the
overcrowded fishing vessel, the navy said.
The discovery on Sunday underlined the scale of the crisis in the
waters of the southern Mediterranean, where hundreds have died
making the perilous journey to Europe, and tens of thousands more
have been plucked from rickety boats.
More than 5,000 people were rescued this weekend, adding to the
50,000 migrants who have reached Italy from North Africa so far this
year, many fleeing war and forced conscription.
Italy has called on its European Union partners to do more to help
manage the near daily arrivals which have boosted support for the
country's anti-immigration opposition Northern League party.
At the current rate, the figures should soon pass the record of
62,000 people who arrived by sea in 2011, when numbers swelled amid
the "Arab Spring" uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East.
An Italian ship, part of the navy's migrant rescue mission Mare
Nostrum or "Our Sea", was due to arrive at the Sicilian port of
Pozzallo later on Monday towing the fishing boat and carrying 566