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Italian coast guard recovers 12 more bodies of shipwreck victims in the Ionian Sea

The bodies of some of the 64 migrants missing in the Mediterranean Sea after their ship wrecked off Italy's southern coast are disembarked at the Italian southern port-city of Roccella Ionica, early Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Valeria Ferraro) The bodies of some of the 64 migrants missing in the Mediterranean Sea after their ship wrecked off Italy's southern coast are disembarked at the Italian southern port-city of Roccella Ionica, early Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Valeria Ferraro)
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MILAN -

The Italian coast guard on Thursday recovered 12 more bodies from a weekend shipwreck in the Ionian Sea off the southern Italian coastline, bringing to 20 the number of known victims from the sinking. Dozens more are missing and presumed dead.

The bodies, including women and children, were being transferred to a port in Calabria. Two more coast guard ships were on their way to join the air-and-sea search, some 190 kilometres (120 miles) from shore.

Survivors reported that the boat motor had caught fire, causing it to capsize off the Italian coast overnight Sunday about eight days after departing from Turkiye with about 75 people from Iran, Syria and Iraq on board, according to the UN refugee agency and other UN organizations. Eleven survivors were being treated on shore.

The deaths bring to more than 800 people who have died or went missing and are presumed dead crossing the central Mediterranean so far this year, an average of five dead a day, the UN agencies said.

Humanitarian groups have decried the deaths as evidence of the failure of European migration policy.

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