56 children among more than 150 migrants rescued from Black Sea

More than 150 migrants have been rescued by Romania's coast guard from a ship in distress on the Black Sea.

The sea is becoming a new route for migrants trying to reach western Europe.

The rusty vessel was towed to the Black Sea port of Constanta, some 150 miles east of Bucharest, before dawn on Wednesday.

The coast guard said there were 157 migrants from Iran and Iraq, including 56 children, who had "intended to illegally enter our country".

Some migrants received medical treatment.

File photo

Authorities initially spotted the ship outside Romanian territorial waters on Tuesday morning.

It sent a distress signal and two coast guard boats were dispatched, but high waves and winds hampered rescue efforts at sea before the ship was towed to port.

Migrants are increasingly trying to cross the Black Sea from Turkey to reach Romania.

Last weekend, coast guard forces from Romania and Bulgaria intercepted 217 migrants in the Black Sea in two boats who were suspected of trying to illegally enter Romania.

Any new influx of migrants through the Black Sea could further exacerbate political strains within the European Union over the issue.

On September 3, Romania's coast guard stopped a fishing vessel carrying 87 migrants in the Black Sea sailing toward the Romanian coast.

In August the coast guard halted a fishing boat carrying 70 migrants suspected of trying to illegally enter Romania.

AP


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