Romania’s Coast Guard early on Wednesday local time rescued 157 migrants from a rusty ship calling out in distress on the Black Sea.
The European Union’s border agency, Frontex, says it is the second such migrant vessel in recent weeks as smugglers attempt to revive a route to western Europe. In 2014, around 430 migrants used the route, 68 in 2015, and then down to just one individual in 2016.
The coast guard reported that the migrants from Iran and Iraq “intended to illegally enter our country”, including 56 children.
Many were injured and received medical treatment from the Romanians.
After the distress signal was sent Tuesday morning, the coast guard had to battle high waves and strong winds that prevented a prompt rescue.
Many migrants in growing numbers are attempting to cross the Black Sea from Turkey to Romania. Last week, Romania and Bulgaria intercepted 217 migrants following the route.
September and August saw Romania halt a combined previous 157 migrants heading towards the coast in fishing vessels.
Tensions between the EU and eastern European nations continue to rise as several countries throw up strong southern borders in response to the migrant crisis and in violation of the Schengen agreement which calls for open borders.
Eli Ridder, Senior Correspondent