The humanitarian organization Alarm Phone announced that around 500 refugees on a ship off the coast of Sicily need help. She urged the authorities not to waste time and to send help immediately.
The ship sailed from Libya and is located south of Sicily in the Italian maritime search and rescue zone, Alarm Phone said.
The new threat to refugees comes less than two weeks after a shipwreck off Calabria in southern Italy killed at least 73 refugees, including 29 minors.
The police were unable to intercept the ship due to bad weather, and the coast guard, which is better equipped for more difficult conditions, was not activated as much.
Italy’s far-right government on Thursday passed tougher penalties for migrant smugglers, vowing to stop boats carrying migrants while opening channels for legal immigration.
But this did not stop the arrival of defectors. Almost 3,000 defectors have arrived in Italy since Wednesday. In the whole of last March, there were around 300 of them.
On Thursday alone, 1,869 refugees arrived on the island of Lampedusa with 41 ships, which is said to be a record.