Lampedusa’s mayor said that identifications would be made through photographs.
Earlier, about 10 fishing vessels headed out to the site of the shipwreck in choppy seas to drop the flowers and blast their horns in honor of the migrants who died.
Fishermen, including one who saved several dozen of the migrants from the shipwreck, said offering help to those in need is part of their code.
“It’s the law of the sea!” Vito Fiorini said. “If you find somebody in need you must immediately help. How could you turn away when you see a person who needs help?
“They do it (help) all the time, it’s unthinkable that a fisherman of Lampedusa would pretend to see nothing!”
Fiorini, who has said he was the first to reach the fiery wreck and sounded the alarm, said some of the 47 migrants he pulled from the sea had been stripped of their clothing, possibly by the current. Some were so slippery from being covered in gasoline that it was hard to pull them onboard.
Humanitarian agencies say 41 of the survivors are minors between the ages of 11 and 17 — and all but one of them was unaccompanied by a parent. Survivors said they spent between two and four months in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, awaiting passage to Europe, much of that time spent confined.
At the refugee center, Awet, an Eritrean survivor who lost a friend in a shipwreck, told the AP he paid $1,600 to smugglers for the trip. He claimed the captain had a phone, but had thrown it into the sea.
Thousands make the perilous crossing each year, seeking a new life in the prosperous European Union. Smugglers charge thousands of dollars a head for the journey aboard overcrowded, barely seaworthy boats that lack life vests. Each year hundreds die undertaking the crossing.
Boldrini said the wave of migrants needs to be tackled in the countries of origin — and not with punitive measures against those fleeing misery and violence.
She cited an Italian law that makes entering Italy a crime. In keeping with the law, a prosecutor in Sicily has confirmed he is preparing paperwork against the migrants — a procedure hampered by their poor Italian and lack of documents.
“We won’t ever solve the problem with repressive measures,” Boldrini said. “It is unthinkable that someone who flees wars or death will stop in front of the hypothesis of a crime.”
She said she spoke to one 27-year-old who had been forced to serve in the Eritrean military for eight years.
“They said how much they paid, how families indebted themselves, how they flee to find a life to find a life of peace and security, and also to pay back their families,” Boldrini said.
Human rights groups have called Eritrea one of the world’s most repressive regimes. Increasingly isolated, Eritrea is under sanctions imposed by the African Union and the United Nations. In late 2011 the U.N. Security Council expanded an arms embargo against the president’s regime. The country is accused of supporting al-Qaida-linked Islamist militants in Somalia.