Sixteen hospitalized out of a total of 55 passengers on the boat are brought ashore after being trapped for hours in rough waters, officials said.
Dozens of Syrian refugees were brought ashore by Albanian authorities after being stranded for hours in the rough waters of the Adriatic Sea as they attempted to reach Italy.
The 55 Syrians, including children, were trapped by bad weather for more than three hours on Saturday in an inflatable boat in the Vjosa River delta, about 100 km south of Albania’s capital Tirana.
“The operation to rescue and evacuate people on board took place in very poor conditions amidst a storm and high waves at sea,” police said in a statement.
Sixteen of the boat’s passengers, including three children, were subsequently hospitalized, while the rest are expected to be taken to a migrant center.
No one was missing.
The police could not find the traffickers. The refugees reportedly paid up to 2,000 euros ($ 2,450) each for transport to Italy.
Albania, a member of NATO since 2009 and hoping to launch negotiations for accession to the European Union soon, is cooperating with the European border agency Frontex to control its southern borders with neighboring Greece, from which the Most refugees and migrants.
It has become a key transit country for many people from Asia, Africa and the Middle East trying to reach Western Europe.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the number of people intercepted passing through Albania more than tripled in 2020 compared to the previous year, according to police data.