A speedboat carrying 18 Iraqi, Iranian and Kurdish migrants was in risk of drowning last midnight about 12 miles from the Shkumbini River mouth.
The boat driven by a Vlora boatswain was forced to release the SOS signal after suffering an engine breakdown. After receiving the SOS signal two Albanian Coast Guard ships set off for coordinates of the endangered vessel, after which other Border Police and Guardia di Finanza boats set off from Durres and Radhima to the assistance of the people at risk.
At about 01.30 (local time) the Italian vessel found the boat at risk. The people on board were in good state. The Coast Guard brought to shore the 18 foreigners, who allegedly were aiming for the Italian shores in their overnight journey.
The boatswain Roland Cenko was taken by the Border and Migration Police services for interrogation in connection with the human trafficking case.
The migrants were then taken to the port of Durres and after health checks were turned over to the border police for further investigation.
The number of clandestine migrants in Albania has recently increased. They are seen in cities traveling north to Montenegro, and from there to European Union countries. Dozens of Iranians were detained near the Vjosa river mouth a few weeks ago.