Home News Shipwreck off the Libyan coast, 75 migrants died

Shipwreck off the Libyan coast, 75 migrants died

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FROM THE CORRESPONDENT FROM CATANIA. Another massacre of migrants took place in the sea in front of Libya. The news from Libya IOM, the United Nations Organization for Migration, according to which last Wednesday a boat with about ninety people on board was wrecked off the coast of Zuwara, western Libya, causing “at least 75 victims”. The IOM says it has collected the testimonies of some of the 15 survivors, recovered by some Libyan fishermen and landed in Zuwara.

“This is the cost of inaction,” says Safa Msehli of the IOM who recalls that since the beginning of the year “at least 1300 men, women and children have drowned in an attempt to cross the central Mediterranean”. A huge number, much higher than that recorded in all of 2020 when they were 978. On the other hand, this year the departures of migrants from Libya and Tunisia were much higher than last year while the control and rescue at sea, which has been “backward” for years almost under the coasts of the European Mediterranean countries, is not enough to prevent similar tragedies. Just the day before this latest tragedy, Doctors Without Borders’ ship Geo Barents in that same sea had carried out its third migrant rescue in 24 hours, carrying 99 alive and ten corpses of asphyxiated dead people on board the bottom of the boat. All were disembarked yesterday in Messina.

The departures from Libya and Tunisia, despite the continuous and often brutal interventions of the Coast Guards of those two countries, did not stop even on days when the sea was very rough. In the last few hours, the Italian Coast Guard intervened to save several hundred migrants: the most impressive intervention took place last night about seventy miles southeast of Pozzallo, in the Ionian Sea in the Italian Sar area, where the Dattilo ship, with the intervention of some patrol boats arriving from Sicily and Calabria, took on board about 350 migrants, among them 40 minors, who were on a fishing boat in difficulty due to poor sea conditions and because it was overcrowded. For hours, the vessel had been “guarded” by at least four merchant ships and, from above, by a Coast Guard plane and a Frontex plane. Another intervention took place south of Lampedusa; in this case the people saved are 70 and, says the Coast Guard, “they are not missing”. They could be those same migrants for whom Alarm Phone had already asked Malta and Italy to intervene yesterday. Or the approximately 75 people for whom the NGO Sea Watch had asked for help last Thursday, when their Seabird reconnaissance plane had spotted them on a boat, about seventy miles south of Lampedusa and that the plane recovered. sighted today, this time about thirty miles from the island of the Pelagie.

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The German NGO, with its Sea Watch 4 ship, rescued 73 people this morning; this brings to 193 the number of migrants rescued in recent days by the humanitarian ship that has already asked for a port of disembarkation for them.

Five small boats with a total of 66 people have arrived or are about to arrive in southern Sardinia, almost certainly migrants from Algeria.

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