Tuesday, June 10, 2014


On the day after Reuters reported that Italy had saved 5,200 migrants in the Mediterranean since Thursday, in Sicily we're just surprised that anyone is surprised and the story is not even making the headlines. Italy, I repeat, has been carrying out large-scale rescues for months and asking for help from the international community for years.

Three migrants were reported dead yesterday and these poor souls, it now transpires, lost their lives in an incident which happened near the Libyan coast in the morning, when a Maltese tanker called the Norient Star was trying to help a dinghy carrying 107 migrants. As the larger vessel edged nearer to the dinghy to carry out the rescue operation, the dinghy, which was already in a poor condition, hit the boarding ladder. This caused a hole and the dinghy started to deflate, then capsized, throwing the passengers into the sea. Some migrants managed to save themselves by grabbing the ladder and others were rescued but three drowned and two are missing. A Maltese guard ship had also been near the scene prior to the accident, but its crew had thrown life jackets to the migrants and then left the scene to take part in another rescue operation. There is no implication that this affected the outcome of the dinghy incident and the investigating magistrate from Ragusa has in fact ruled it out. 

Last night the Norient Star brought the 102 survivors and three bodies to Pozzallo, where the Mayor and a young Protezione Civile representative laid flowers on one of the waiting coffins. Mayor Luigi Ammatuna said he wanted to be a "mayor of life, not welcoming corpses but people full of hope who want to change their destiny."

A UN spokesman has apparently said tonight that Italy cannot be left alone to deal with the current volume of migration from North Africa and that an international response is needed. Words, words, words - how many people have to die before humane international action is taken?


Rosaria Williams said...

Italy has an enormous burden, for sure. The world is blind most of the time, and only constant reminders might bring needed help.
Thanks for keeping your readers up on these news.

James Higham said...

Rightly or wrongly, I think the international community sees this as an Italian issue. It's not but they see it this way.

Whispering Walls said...

Indeed WL - thank you for keeping us informed.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Rosaria. Yes, the EU doies not see what it does not want to see. Thanks for your kind comment. Hi, James. I think you're right but as one of Sicily's mayors pointed out the other day, Sicily's shore is also the border of Europe. Thanks, WW.

RNSANE said...

People seem so reluctant to help, wanting to leave it all up to one country to bear the burden alone. We are quick to go to war but not so quick to provide humanitarian relief to the hundreds of thousands of suffering souls who are victims of oppression and aggression.


View My Stats