The Italian Coastguard reported the rescue of 14 migrants from the Mediterranean Sea on Friday, March 25, sharing an image and video of the rescue taking place. The coastguard said those rescued were "all men, [and of] Afghan and Pakistani origin."
The Italian Coastguard has been a major factor in rescue operations. In February 2016, they rescued 91 migrants in a complex operation during the night off the coast of Samos Island. Some of the migrants who were on board the boat had already taken refuge on a cliff overlooking the sea, in an attempt to find shelter.
In August 2015, they successfully coordinated the rescue of about 3,000 migrants in the Mediterranean – in one day and 22 rescue operations – after receiving distress calls from more than 20 overcrowded vessels drifting in waters off Libya.
In February Italian coastguards called for authorities to allow them to be armed, amid fears that Islamic State militants will use their new bases in Libya to attack merchant shipping in the Mediterranean. Coastguards demanded that they were given the status of police officers, who have the automatic right to carry firearms.
Most Italy-bound migrant boats cross from Northern African countries, mainly Libya, and are usually intercepted off Sicily or the southern Island of Lampedusa.