Italian authorities say they have identified the two alleged smugglers who drove the rubber dinghy carrying 62 migrants rescued by the Open Arms vessel who arrived at the port of Taranto on Tuesday, November 26. They are two Gambian nationals aged 18 and 16, authorities said.

The 18-year-old was taken into custody while the minor was transferred to a hosting center and his case has been reported to a juvenile court. Taranto police are investigating the case with finance police and their counterparts in Ragusa.

The migrant-rescue ship of Spanish NGO Open Arms docked at the port of Taranto to disembark 62 people who were rescued on November 21 between Italy and Libya.

Initially, 73 people were aboard the ship but 11 migrants — including children and their families and wounded passengers — were transferred on November 24 to Augusta.

Suspects reported by survivors

The two suspects were accused of driving the boat by some of the passengers, investigative sources said. The suspects were the only passengers with a compass and a cell phone, which was used to raise the alarm, the sources said. The duo also had a knife and a cane.

Allegations against youths

When rescuers reached the dinghy, the pair reportedly ordered the other passengers not to say that they were driving the boat.

According to investigators, the teens worked for the trafficking organisation that organised the crossing and did not pay the 2,000 Libyan dinars that each passenger was required to pay before boarding the boat.

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