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EU seeks to bolster sea patrols in Mediterranean

Updated: October 8, 2013 2:07PM

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is seeking to bolster sea patrols across the Mediterranean to prevent further tragedies involving migrant boats.

A boat packed with up to 500 asylum seekers capsized and sank in sight of the Italian island of Lampedusa last week. More than 270 people are confirmed dead, while at least 155 were rescued.

EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said Tuesday after a meeting of the 28-nation bloc’s interior ministers in Luxembourg that all member states agreed in principle to strengthen the Frontex border protection agency’s capabilities.

Malmstrom says she proposed expanding Frontex’s search and rescue operations to range across the Mediterranean Sea “from Spain to Cyprus.”

She says it’s still too early to say how exactly patrols will be strengthened and by when, or to discuss the cost.

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