Cold winds and rough seas have lambasted Sicily for most of the past week but the weather conditions have not discouraged desperate migrants from beginning their perilous journeys towards the island's shores, which they regard as a gateway to a better life in Europe.
On Wednesday night the Italian Navy intercepted a mother ship intending to transfer migrants it was carrying onto a small boat off Siracusa and 15 crew members were arrested on suspicion of being people traffickers. They have today been brought to Catania, where they have been detained.
On the same night, a naval helicopter spotted a fishing boat in trouble off Portopalo di Capo Passero and 175 migrants, including six children, were rescued from it and also taken to Catania. All but one, who is suffering from hypothermia, are reported to be in a satisfactory medical condition. These migrants were from Syria, Egypt and Iraq.
Meanwhile, this weekend sees an unusual gathering at Lampedusa Airport, where representatives from charities, migrants' associations and others who have the welfare of migrants at heart will attempt to draw up a Lampedusa Charter - a charter for migrants' rights and, it is hoped, for the world: an impractical dream or a true vision for the future? What do you think? You can follow the event on the Melting Pot site.