Italy Migrants Stranded at Sea
A man with a baby walks after disembarking from the cargo ship Ezadeen, carrying hundreds of migrants, in the southern Italian port of Corigliano, Ita...
A man with a baby walks after disembarking from the cargo ship Ezadeen, carrying hundreds of migrants, in the southern Italian port of Corigliano, Italy, Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015. The cargo ship was stopped with about 450 migrants aboard after smugglers sent it speeding toward the coast in rough seas with no one in command. Italian authorities lowered engineers and electricians onto the wave-tossed ship by helicopter to secure it, and the Icelandic Coast Guard towed it to the Italian port of Corigliano late Friday night. Smugglers who bring migrants to Europe by sea appear to have adopted a new, more dangerous tactic: cramming hundreds of them onto a large cargo ship, setting it on an automated course to crash into the coast, and then abandoning the helm. (AP Photo/Antonino D'Urso)
ROME (AP) -- Syrian migrants have told Italian investigators their smugglers aboard a cargo ship wore hoods to avoid identification before abandoning the helm in choppy Mediterranean waters.
Fleeing their homeland's war, they disembarked Saturday at Corigliano Calabro, in Calabria, from the Ezadeen, towed to port by an Icelandic coast guard ship.
Italian coast guard officials, lowered onto the bridge by helicopter, took control of the ship, which was on automatic pilot.
A local Prefect's Office official, Emanuela Greco, said 359 Syrians were aboard, including 42 women and 62 children, eight of them unaccompanied.
Cosenza Police Chief Luigi Liguori told reporters that migrants said crew members were hooded whenever they saw them. There are hopes Ezadeen's data recorder will reveal its exact route. Migrants told authorities they boarded in Turkey on Dec. 31.