Romania’s coast guard rescued about 150 migrants from a ship in distress on the Black Sea on Sept. 13 on what is becoming a new route for migrants trying to reach Western Europe.
The rusty ship was towed to the Black Sea port of Constanta, some 250 kilometers (150 miles) east of Bucharest, before dawn of Sept. 13.
Cristian Cicu, deputy commander of the Romanian coast guard, said an initial count showed about 153 people on board, including 53 children.
Authorities initially spotted the ship outside Romanian territorial waters in morning of Sept. 12. It sent a distress signal and two coast guard boats were dispatched, but high waves and winds hampered rescue efforts at sea before the ship was towed to port.
On Sept. 11, a fishing boat carrying 149 Syrian migrants and two Ukrainians were stopped by Turkish Coast Guards in the Black Sea off eastern Romania. The migrants and suspects were transferred to a police station in the western province of Kırklareli.
Migrants are increasingly trying to cross the Black Sea from Turkey to reach Romania. This weekend, coast guard forces from Romania and Bulgaria intercepted 217 migrants in the Black Sea in two boats who were suspected of trying to illegally enter Romania.
On Sept. 3, Romania’s coast guard stopped a fishing vessel carrying 87 migrants in the Black Sea sailing toward the Romanian coast, while in August the coast guard halted a fishing boat carrying 70 migrants suspected of trying to illegally enter Romania.