This grainy photograph - taken on board freighter Blue Sky M - reveals how 796 migrants including women and children were packed together in squalor on the freezing metal floor. It was taken by a 35-year-old Syrian, who claims he paid human traffickers almost £11,000 for himself and his pregnant wife to make the journey from Turkey to Croatia. The nearly 800 migrants had been packed onto the Moldovan-flagged Blue Sky M which was then abandoned at sea by its crew after one of the passengers called emergency services about the horrible conditions on board.According to report, The crew set the ship on autopilot and fled, letting the Italian coastguard pick it up off the coast of Gallipoli
The migrants will now be taken to immigration centres and assessed to see if they have a valid claim for asylum.
The passengers, including 54 women – several of whom were pregnant – and 74 children, eight of whom were unaccompanied, endured a miserable ten-day voyage before they were rescued on Friday night.
They ran out of food, drink and fuel after five days, when the smugglers apparently locked them in the decaying vessel and escaped on a lifeboat.
Before they can be granted asylum they must persuade authorities that they are fleeing persecution and would face harm or death if sent back to their country of origin.
Illegal migration to the EU has been fuelled by the civil war in Syria, which has driven people to seek asylum in Europe.
Last year it is estimated that nearly 3,500 refugees died trying to cross the Mediterranean while another 200,000 were rescued.