- Rescuers are trying to restart the boat's engines, the coast guard says
- The ship without any crew is carrying 450 migrants
- This is the second time this week the Italian coast guard has rescued such a vessel
Italian authorities responded late Thursday to a ship without any crew that was carrying 450 migrants, that country's coast guard said.
It's the second time this week Italy's coast guard has rescued such a vessel.
"Because of the difficult weather conditions, the ship can only be reached by air. From what we know, the ship, which flies the flag of Sierra Leone, would have hundreds of migrants on board," the Italian air force said in a statement.
It said the cargo ship Ezadeen was in at a standstill because of a blackout.
The migrants launched an SOS, said Floriana Segreto, a spokeswoman for the Italian coast guard. Women and children are thought to be on the ship.
By early Friday morning, the vessel remained at a standstill 58 miles (93 kilometers) off the coast of the city of Crotone in the Ionian Sea, the coast guard said, where rescuers were trying to restart the boat's engines.
On Wednesday, a freighter carrying 768 people, most believed to be migrants from war-torn Syria, docked safely in the southern port of Gallipoli after the coast guard seized control.
The Italian coast guard told CNN a "real disaster" was avoided when authorities boarded the Blue Sky M after the crew apparently jumped ship.
Italian coast guard commander Filippo Marini said the vessel was cruising on autopilot toward the rocky Italian coast at 6 nautical miles per hour. The course of the vessel was reversed to avoid a collision with the rocks.
The coast guard said a collision would not only have led to the deaths of passengers but would also have created an environmental disaster.