Italian media is reporting this afternoon that a satellite telephone distress call has been received from a disabled migrant boat carrying about 50 persons from Libya. A search in the Maltese SAR zone is being undertaken. The boat is reportedly drifting about 70 miles south of Lampedusa. If the report is accurate, this would appear to be the first known migrant boat to have left Libya since the overthrow of Gaddafi.
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[UPDATE 23:45 GMT – A Malta Today report suggests, as has been the case before, there may be disagreement between Maltese and Italian officials regarding who has responsibility for coordinating SAR operations. Malta Today reports that Malta is now coordinating SAR operations due to the “closure” of Lampedusa by Italian officials. Click here for article.]