Italy is closing a sea rescue mission that saved more than 100,000 migrants in one year to make way for a smaller EU scheme. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
A mission comes to an end in Italy. On Friday the government said it would close a sea rescue mission that has saved the lives of more than 100,000 migrants from Africa and the Middle East. It's a move that one rights group warned that could lead to a "surge of deaths" in the Mediterranean. Authorities say ending the Italian mission would make way for a smaller European Union scheme and help relieve the strain on Italy's finances amid a three-year economic slump. Over the past year Italy has spent 114 million euros in its rescue operations. Italy has long called for the EU to do more to help migrants. Earlier this month, Rome finally agreed to give way to a more limited rescue mission called Triton, overseen by the EU. Any migrants picked up will still be brought to Italian ports and housed in immigration centers, though the vast majority of those who have been rescued over the past year did not stay in Italy for long, moving quickly to other EU countries. Now the sun is setting on a rescue mission that is credited with saving tens of thousands of lives