Home » the SOS, the cargo, the failed rescue. The tragedy between 6-metre waves – breaking latest news

the SOS, the cargo, the failed rescue. The tragedy between 6-metre waves – breaking latest news

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the SOS, the cargo, the failed rescue.  The tragedy between 6-metre waves – breaking latest news

The white and green silhouette of the cargo Frolandflying the flag of Antigua & Barbuda, stands out between the onde up to six meters high about 100 miles off the Libyan coast. Next to the motor ship is a open boat with 47 terrified people – desperate migrants and smugglers – who suddenly, during rescue operations, it rolls over for reasons still unspecified. It’s dark, it’s cold. It is the scene that occurs to the crew of the Froland, one of the four units sent to the scene from the operations center of the Coast Guard in Rome, which responded to the call for help from Libyan colleagues, unable to intervene due to lack of available boats.

This is the reconstruction by the Italian authorities of what happened at dawn on Sunday, the second in a few days massacre of refugees after that of Cutro, in Calabria. Rome’s version is a direct reply to the heavy accusations launched by the NGO Alarm Phonewho throughout the day tweeted messages in which he accused Italy of having «knowingly delayed the rescue and left to die» the migrants. He then added: “We fear that the survivors will be forced to go to Libya or Tunisia where inhuman conditions await them”.

The only ones to move

In reality, according to what was reconstructed by the Coast Guard, «the rescue operation took place outside the Italian Sar area of ​​responsibility recording the inactivity of the other National Maritime Rescue and Coordination Centers concerned by area”. In short, Italy was not the only one to have been warned, given that the alarm was also raised towards Libya and Malta, but was the only one to move to rescue the punt, using other naval units closer than the national ones. Indeed, from what emerges from Italian reports, on Saturday night «“Watch the Med-Alarm Phone” reported to the National Maritime Rescue Coordination Center in Rome, to the Maltese and Libyan ones a boat carrying 47 migrants, in the Libyan Sar area about 100 miles from the Libyan coast”.

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Ships to help

The rescue operation concerned in particular two freighters in transit in that area, alerted directly by Italy – theAtlantic North and the Kinling (both under the flag of Singapore) — together with the nave cisterna Basilis L (Marshall Islands), which in the meantime had received a report from a reconnaissance aircraft of the ong «Seabird 2». This last unit set course on the coordinates of the migrants, while “all the information – the Coast Guard reiterates – was also provided to the Libyan and Maltese authorities”. A few hours later Basilis L communicated that he had «the punt in sight, stop adrift, and to have difficulty in rescuing him due to adverse weather conditions in the area.

Tripoli’s request

And it was precisely at that moment that the Libyan authorities, who are responsible for search and rescue activities in that area, asked for help to the National Coordination Center of the Italian maritime rescue, as required by the international conventions on sea rescue. After Tripoli’s request, Rome sent “immediately, a satellite message distress to all vessels in transit’.

Tragic transfer

At dawn yesterday the dramatic epilogue of the story. The Basilis L remained for a few hours near the small boat at the mercy of the waves, perhaps also due to mechanical failure, awaiting the arrival of the other units, to which the Froland. The commanders maneuvered for try to shield the boat in order to mitigate the effects of rough seas and thus allow a safe rescue. Unfortunately – they explain from the Coast Guard – this did not happen: the boat “capped over during the transshipment of migrants: 17 people were rescued and recovered from the ship while about 30 were missing».

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The search for the missing

While the Froland immediately set course for Malta to disembark two seriously wounded as soon as possible and then continue towards the Italian coast to welcome the other fifteen migrants, the Coast Guard continued to coordinate searches for the missing «with the help of the merchant ships in the area», with two other cargo that will reach the area in the next few hours and «with the overflight of two Frontex aircraft».

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