The Egyptian navy prevented the illegal immigration attempts of 228 people on September 6, 2015. Military spokesman handout
CAIRO, Sep 6 (Aswat Masriya) - The Egyptian navy has prevented the illegal immigration by sea of 228 people from "different nationalities" on Sunday, the military spokesman said.
The passengers were due to start their journey off the coast of Alexandria in Egypt's north on three fishing boats but were stopped by the navy, spokesman Mohamed Samir said in a statement.
He added that the crew operating the three boats was made up of 17 people.
The passengers and crew were all taken to Alexandria's naval base and referred to authorities.
Many people from different parts of the Middle East are resorting to illegal immigration in search for better opportunities abroad, often risking their lives in an unsafe journey in the Mediterranean to reach Europe.
According to the European Union's official website, the Central Mediterranean has been one of the main routes used by smugglers for almost a decade.
Migrants depart from Libya and more recently Egypt, with the hopes of reaching Southern Europe, the website said.
According to the European Commission, 276,000 people entered the European Union through irregular immigration in 2014.
This year, more than 300,000 have risked their lives to make cross the Mediterranean and 2,600 of them have died, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said on Friday.
"Europe is facing its biggest refugee influx in decades," he said in a statement.