Friday, September 17, 2010


The mystery of what really happened when the crew of a Libyan patrol boat fired on a Sicilian fishing boat in the Gulf of Sirte on Sunday continues as an enquiry gets under way:  The captain of the fishing boat, Gaspare Marrone, insists that his vessel was pursued by the Libyan boat as it fled the scene and that the Libyan crew continued to fire to kill.   

Italian officials, probably in an attempt to play down the incident, are saying that the fishing boat was not pursued and Foreign Minister Franco Frattini has accused the Italian crew of fishing illegally in Libyan waters.  Captain Marrone insists that they were in international waters and were not fishing at the time.  

The Libyans signalled to the boat to stop, then fired first into the air, then into the sea and finally at the hull of the boat.  Interior Minister Roberto Maroni has suggested that the Libyans mistook the boat for a vessel carrying illegal immigrants but Captain Marrone clearly thinks this claim is ridiculous: he says he identified the boat as Italian to the Libyan captain and that it would have been impossible to have mistaken his 36-metre vessel for anything other than a fishing boat.

The fishing boat is now in port where it will undergo ballistic examinations.

To me the strangest aspect of this episode is that there were Italian military observers or technical advisers on board the Libyan boat:  what did they do or feel when the crew started firing on their fellow countrymen?


Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

I'm kind of surprised that the Italian officials aren't more supportive of the Captain. I hadn't even heard about this incident.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Betty. It's political. They have a treaty with Libya on illegal immigration and don't want to get embroiled in a row with the Libyan government.

Gledwood said...

Hmmmm the Italian govt vs the Libyan govt ~ hardly a corruption-free zone then!!!

Gledwood said...

Did you sort out the vulgar gecko problem?

We used to have them pinging up our walls in Goa. They never caused any trouble though....

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hello, Gleds. You're right there! Simi got the poor gecko tonight. When were you in Goa?


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