(Republicaninformer.com)- After a ship carrying migrants sank along the Italian coast, killing over 60 people, Pope Francis called for an end to human trafficking.
More than 60 migrants, including at least 12 children, were killed when a wooden sailing vessel out of Turkey crashed into the rocks near a seaside resort of Steccato di Cutro on the southern coast of Italy on Sunday, Reuters reported.
The boat, which was carrying migrants from Iran, Afghanistan, and several other countries, set sail from the port of Izmir in western Turkey about four days earlier when it sank in rough seas off the Italian coast just before dawn on Sunday.
A plane operated by Frontex, the European Union’s border agency, spotted the vessel late Saturday night about 46 miles off the coast. Patrol boats were deployed to intercept the vessel, but were forced to return to port due to severe weather, according to Italian police.
Italian authorities mobilized search units along the coastline where the wreckage of the boat was found strewn across a large section. Among the bodies washed ashore was a baby no more than a few months old, Reuters reported.
The Guardia di Finanza customs police said one survivor was arrested and charged with migrant trafficking.
In his weekly address on Wednesday, Pope Francis expressed his sorrow over the tragedy and offered his prayers for the victims and their families. He thanked the Italian people for their “solidarity and hospitality” for the migrants and said that tragedies like the shipwreck must not happen again.
The pope called for an end to human trafficking so traffickers cannot continue disposing of the lives of innocent people. He said “journeys of hope” should never turn into “journeys of death.
Pope Francis prayed that the Mediterranean’s “clear waters” would never be “bloodied” again by “tragic accidents” like the weekend’s shipwreck.