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Romanian Rescue Operation Highlights Emerging Black Sea Route For Migrants

A border police ship pulls a vessel transporting migrants the port of Midia on the Black Sea coast on September 13.

Romania's coast guard has rescued more than 150 migrants from a troubled ship on the Black Sea in an operation highlighting an emerging route for migrants trying to reach Western Europe.

Coast guard deputy commander Cristian Cicu says the rusty ship was towed to the Black Sea port of Constanta, about 250 kilometers east of Bucharest, shortly before dawn on September 13.

An initial count showed 153 people on board the ship, including 53 children.

Authorities became aware of the ship outside Romanian territorial waters on September 12 when it sent a distress signal.

High waves and winds hampered rescue efforts at sea before the ship was towed to port.

Migrants are increasingly trying to cross the Black Sea from Turkey to reach Romania.

During the weekend, Bulgarian and Romanian coast-guard forces intercepted two boats in the Black Sea with 217 migrants suspected of trying to illegally enter Romania.

Romania's coast guard stopped a fishing boat on September 3 that was carrying 87 migrants toward the country's Black Sea coast.

It also halted a fishing boat in August with 70 migrants suspected of trying to illegally enter Romania.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters