Tuesday, September 14, 2010


This is my report on the incident for today's Italy Magazine:
A Sicilian fishing boat was shot at for fifteen minutes by a Libyan patrol boat in the Mediterranean on Sunday night.
La Sicilia Online reports that the Libyan vessel appears to have been one of six presented to the Libyan government by Italy as part of a joint agreement on combatting illegal immigration from Libya into Italy.
There was at least one Italian border official on board as an observer, possibly with other members of Italy's Finance Police. Under the agreement between the two countries, Italian military sometimes board the Libyan patrol boats as observers or technical advisers.
The fishing boat, the Ariete, was thirty miles off the Libyan coast in the Gulf of Sirte, waters which Tripoli, contrary to International Maritime Law, regards as exclusively Libyan territory, when the Libyan patrol boat signalled to it to stop. The Sicilian crew were not fishing at the time. Captain Gaspare Marrone, aware that Libyan patrol vessels sometimes seize Sicilian boats in the area, decided to speed ahead.
Captain Marrone said that his crew of ten threw themselves onto the deck and only when they saw the coast of Lampedusa at dawn did they feel safe. Riddled with bullets, the Ariete reached Lampedusa later yesterday morning.
Italy has begun an investigation into the incident.
Update:  Libya has issued an apology this evening.


Ellee Seymour said...

Just as well the boat wasn't in Somalis!

Sean Jeating said...

Always looking on the bright side: as it was a patrol boat bounteously presented to friends, all the fishermen got was friendly fire.

Lucia said...

wow, that's crazy!don't they have radios or something.

James Higham said...

So it wasn't pirates then?

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Yes, just as well, Ellee! That's one way of looking at it, Sean. Hi, Lucia. Yes, they have radios but the first signal was manual, I think. No, not pirates, James.


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