Friday, August 09, 2013


Visualizzazione ingrandita della mappa

Last Sunday a Liberian-registered oil tanker, the MT Salamis, rescued 102 Sudanese and Eritrean migrants from a boat off the Libyan coast and sailed towards Malta. The Maltese authorities, however, refused to let the migrants land and say that the captain ignored their orders to take them back into Libyan waters. The Maltese authorities contacted their Italian and Greek counterparts regarding the situation but are believed to have ignored pleas and, later, admonitions from the EU.

Thus it was that the migrants were stranded in the Mediterranean Sea from Sunday night until early on Wednesday morning, while intense negotiations regarding their fate were being held. EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said that Malta had a humanitarian duty to allow the migrants to disembark as the priority was to save their lives. She also said that sending them back to Libya was contrary to international law. At last, Italian Premier Enrico Letta gave permission for the tanker to dock at Siracusa, where the Italian Red Cross was standing by. Mr Letta is said to understand that, because of the sheer number of migrant boats that have arrived at Maltese ports this summer, the island's reception facilities are at breaking point.

Among the migrants were four pregnant women and a five-month-old baby now known as "Sam", who has become the group's mascot. All are said to be doing well.

Commissioner Malmström has thanked Italy on behalf of the EU and tweeted that it would be great if all 28 EU countries would help in such situations. Francesco Rocca, the president of the Italian Red Cross, has said that there needs to be a European strategy so that such an impasse does not happen again. The International Organisation for Migration and UNHCR have also thanked Italy.

On a sadder note, 103 Somali migrants, including 29 women, one of whom is pregnant, were rescued by a fishing boat and the Italian Navy from a dinghy in the Sicilian Channel on Wednesday night. Two other migrants had died during the journey and their bodies had been thrown into the sea. One of these was a seven-year-old child and his shocked and distraught mother is among the survivors, who have been taken to Lampedusa. My thoughts are with this sad lady this weekend.


Anne in Oxfordshire said...

I am trying to understand the situations ,, and I\ know it is sad on parts,, I know that the UK cannot take anymore people , we have stretched beyond belief and yet we are taking more and more next year, I also know that so much more crime has be caused by people coming in to this country, who have no respect for us in England, Pat I am not saying NO ,, but if you come in here respect us , and our country,

Unknown said...

Malta used to be much friendlier towards migrants: But that was a long time ago.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Anne. I would agree that immigrants should respect their host countries, provided they are not being treated in an inhumane way. But I do have sympathy for those whose only "crime" is to seek a better life.
Hi, Unknown and thank you for the interesting link.

Sean Jeating said...

I can't stand people who say / write "I do not have anything against asylum seekers / foreigners / homosexuals etc., . . . BUT ..."

Lee said...

It's a world-wide problem; with no easy answers. So much heartbreak, sorrow and tragedy. It's easy to judge; and for those of us not having ever been in similar situations, and not likely to ever be not to understand/

I wish there was an easy answer; a simple and easy resolution to this massive problem.

A country has the right to protect its borders; it has also has a right who it allows enter its country.

On the one hand we all do sympathise with these poor souls; and then, on the other hand because of the behaviour and hidden agendas of some...and of the problems that follow in so many instances - the proof is there - everywhere - for all to see....we are caught between a rock and a hard place...between the devil and the deep blue sea...and there is no pun intended whatsoever.

I just don't know....

Moggsy said...

Unknown, Malta is a tiney place. It is almost that a operson has to get off it before another can get on. A bit like one of those boats, but thank goodnes it can't sink, so don't be so hard on Malta in your anonyminity.

The whole situation is dreadful for the economic migrants claiming they are refugees and for the people in the places they end up. I sort of see Anne's point too tho.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Agree, Sean. Hi, Lee. Yes, but it is often poverty and desperation that lead to theft, etc. And the indigenous population also commits crimes. Hi, Moggsy.I don't think we can begin to imagine the desperation of the migrants. I do believe that one of the reasons that the UK is, on the whole, successful as a multi-cultural society is because it does recognise the good things that immigration can bring to the culture.


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