Tuesday, August 13, 2013


The migrant boats continue to come but nothing could have prepared Catania for the tragedy which happened just 20 metres off the popular Plaia di Catania beach at dawn on Saturday. This time, the story made the world's headlines.

An old, wooden fishing boat had run aground and was carrying 120 migrants, including around 50 minors, one of whom was a seven-month-old baby. All were from Egypt or Syria. Panicking, some of the migrants jumped into the sea to try to swim to safety and six young men, aged 17 - 27, were drowned. The seventeen-year-old would have been eighteen on 25th August.  Italian coastguards managed to pull the others out of the water and brought the remaining passengers on the boat to safety.  

Two Egyptian youths, aged 16 and 17, have been arrested for aiding illegal immigration but three of the scafisti [people traffickers] had also thrown themselves into the sea and managed to escape.

It is thought that the boat had somehow sailed in the wrong direction as it is unusual for migrant boats to approach popular tourist beaches, even at night. Investigating police and coastguards think that the boat must have been towed for most of the way by a "mother ship" and the condition of the survivors backs this theory up: although tired and hungry, none of them, including the baby, showed signs of having endured a long sea voyage. The baby was admitted to hospital for a check-up but was later discharged and all the survivors are said to be in good health now. 

Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino said on Sunday that there is no magic solution to situations like this as what we are witnessing is a desperate exodus of people fleeing poverty, war or both.

The Mayor of Catania has declared a day of mourning in the town tomorrow, when the funerals of the drowned men whose families have not requested their bodies will be held.


Jenny Woolf said...

I can't help thinking about how desperate those migrants must be to take such risks, and especially when they often have to pay so much.

Unknown said...

Why did some of the dead men's families not request their bodies?

Also, what will the authorities do with the illegal immigrants?

Moggsy said...

Sadly I guess the Mayor is right.

If someone could come up with a good easy solution they would have done it by now.

It is not practical/legal for western nations or the UN to set up protected enclaves in soverign nations like Egypt or Syria or the Lebanon and would probably be a route to war and an excuse for terrorism..

They wouldn't work anyway if they were not commercially sucessful and anyone who tried it would be accused of being a colonialist.

Whispering Walls said...

Very sad

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Yes, they are absolutely desperate, Jenny. Hi, Uber. I don't know. Maybe the families could not be found if they didn't travel with them. The authorities will first of all see that they are all right healthwise, then they will interview them and decide what to do. Sometimes some are sent back but that can't be laewfully done with regard to Syria or, I imagine, to Egypt now. Hi, Moggsy. Yes, you are right about protected enclaves. I think there are only two solutions: One is to try to abate poverty in their countries of origin and the other is to see what they can bring to the countries they come to. Given the situation in Egypt tonight, this is going to go on and on. Agree, WW.


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