A hundred refugees and migrants crammed into a small dinghy that started taking in water in the Mediterranean endured an agonising 30-hour wait before they were rescued, a maritime log passed to the Guardian has revealed.
The incident happened over the Easter weekend, the unofficial start of the “sailing season”, which sees increased numbers of people attempting the crossing from Africa to Europe as the weather improves.
Twenty children and 10 women, one of them pregnant, were among the passengers on the overcrowded dinghy.
On the 19th April 2015, an estimated 700 children, women and men drowned in the Mediterranean while desperately searching for a new life in safety and peace. The European community was outraged and politicians vowed: ‘never again’.
The following year, on the 18th of April, up to 500 people died in shipwrecks off the Libyan coast.
AsMOAS prepared to commemorate these mass tragedies, our crew were out in the Central Mediterranean on our search and rescue vessel, the Phoenix. Our 2017 mission had launched 2 weeks earlier; a date chosen precisely to avoid yet more April tragedies. As the Phoenix travelled to the zone of operations following a period of bad weather, they knew that many rescues lay ahead of them; but they could never have anticipated the scale of what they were about to face.
Here, we will set out how the weekend unfolded, and how it was that through the determination, teamwork and solidarity among everyone at sea, another mass tragedy was avoided.
On Good Friday, 14th April 2017, throughout the day over 2000 people were rescued by SAR agencies, mostly NGOs and coast guard vessels. The Phoenix participated in the rescue of 273 people, transferring everyone to an Italian coast guard vessel so that our crew could remain in the area to assist
In nineteen operations at sea yesterday rescuers saved more than two thousand immigrants leaving Africa from Libya and headed to Italy.
With the sea calm, the human traffickers decided to send off to Europe 16 overcrowded rubber rafts and three small wooden boats for a total of 2,074 rescued migrants.
The volunteers of Doctors Without Borders and the staff of the NGO SOS Mediterranee are aboard the ship Aquarius said in a tweet that in one of the rescue operations they found a dead teenage boy on the bottom of one of the rafts. "The sea continues to serve as a graveyard," they wrote on Twitter.
TRIPOLI-- According to the Libyan Coast Guard, a rubber raft full of migrants sank six miles off the coast of Tripoli. The coast guard saved 23 people of several African nationalities, but at least 97 people were lost, among them 15 women and five children.
THose unaccounted for are "probably dead," according to the coast guard spokesman, even though no other bodies have been found, also because of terrible weather conditions.
There were originally 120 people aboard the motorized rubber raft. This makes 590 migrants departing from Libya now drowned in the Mediterranean since January first, 2017.
Dozens of people are feared to have drowned after a rubber boat carrying migrants and refugees from Libya sank in the Mediterranean.
The sole survivor – a 16-year-old Gambian boy – told rescuers that 146 other people were on board when the boat sank.
A Spanish frigate, the Canarias, found the boy hanging on to a piece of debris in the sea on Tuesday. He was transferred to an Italian Coast Guard ship and brought to the Sicilian island of Lampedusa early on Wednesday.
Mark has recently joined the team on the MV Aquarius, a search and rescue ship operated jointly by MSF / Doctors without Borders and SOS MEDITERRANEE. Here he blogs about the team's work in the Mediterranean:
It’s crazy to think about all these people floating around out here.
I write on the port-side deck, looking out to sea.
I just heard 800 people were picked up today. That’s between us, the one other NGO ship and the Italian Coast Guard. That’s 800 people, even though it’s winter when everyone thought things would settle down.
The weather has been bad, but today was a good day with a full moon so maybe more boats set off from Libya. So…right, we found 800 people, but how many didn't get picked up and are still out there in this black sea?
Typically someone on the boat will call this MRCC (Maritime Coordination Rescue Center) hotline in Rome on a satellite phone that you never find, thrown overboard. Or a smuggler accompanies them for a while and makes the call and we're sent coordinates.
Sometimes there isn't a call and the little boats, crowded with people, are spotted from our bridge or picked up on radar.
We found 800 people, but how many are still out there in this black sea?
On both rescues since I’ve arrived we've found the boats the day they departed shore; usually we do. We have to, since their chances of making it overnight aren’t good.
This movement of people strikes me here much more heavily than the limited exposure I've had to this migration working with Doctors Without Borders in the north of Ethiopia. There, sure, people are moving with basically nothing, but at least they're on land.
The movement of people in Ethiopia is easier for me to comprehend than the idea of floating around this massive body of water, often without even a life jacket. Nothing in their pockets. One rescuer told me he picked up a man last summer who was naked. Apparently it’s not that uncommon. (more…)
975 people rescued yesterday in seven rescue operations in the Strait of Sicily arrived safely Sunday morning at Palermo's harbor.
One of them was a baby six hours old born aboard the Norwegian rescue ship Siem Pilot. ( Can you imagine setting off from Libya in the night nine months pregnant, about to give birth, and you are on a sinking rubber raft in the dark on the ocean at night in winter?) The boy child weighed some six pounds and both mother and son are healthy, according to a report in La Reppublica. The mother has requested Norwegian citizenship for her son and named him after one of the two rescue vessels that came to pick them up : Sea Bear.
Some 1100 immigrants were rescued from the middle of the Mediterranean Sea yesterday in nine distinct operations. The migrants were aboard 8 rubber rafts and one small imbarcation. Click on the caption to read the story in Italian in La Repubblica online.
Coldplay offered the income from its song to the Migrant Offshore Aid Station, the rescue ship and mission financed by Regina and Christopher Catrambone, two businesspeople who, after the tragic shipwreck of Lampedusa of October 2013, started to work in the Strait of Sicily to save migrants. "Every year MOAS aids thousands of people who (more…)
More than 1,300 migrants were rescued in 13 separate missions in the Mediterranean on Friday, bringing the total helped over the last three days to more than 2,600, according to the Italian coastguard.
The migrants, aboard 13 different vessels, were picked up in the central Mediterranean by ships from the Italian coastguard, the Italian and British navies, merchant ships, and vessels operated by non-government organisations, a statement said. Another 1,300 migrants were rescued on Wednesday.
The voyage from Libya across the Mediterranean to Italy is currently the main route to Europe for migrants. A record 181,000 made the journey last year, most on flimsy boats run by people smugglers.
More than 5,000 people are believed to have died attempting the crossing in 2016.
From The Guardian 30 Jan 2017
"Conditions for migrants and refugees in Libya are worse than in concentration camps, according to a paper sent to the German foreign ministry by its ambassador in Niger.
The German embassy in Niger has authenticated reports of executions, torture and other systematic rights abuses in camps on the refugee route in Libya, Die Welt cited the report as saying on Sunday....
“There are executions of countless migrants, torture, rapes, bribery and banishment to the desert on a daily basis,” the report says.
Witnesses spoke of five executions a week in one prison, designed to free up space for new migrants and increase smugglers’ revenues."
The 212 immigrants rescued by SOS Mediterranee's ship Aquarius were brought to shore in Sicily last night. 41 of the refugees are minors, and and 38 of them came without parents or guardians. 31 of the immigrants were women, and one of them is pregnant, according to a report in La Repubblica this morning. They came from Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Mali, Cameroon and Morocco. They left the Libyan coast from Sabrata on the night between 27 and 28 January, having paid about 1,000 Libyan dinars each, about $714 U.S.. Four traffickers were arrested and sent to jail in Siracusa, Sicily.
The ship Aquarius, operated by the humanitarian italo-franco-german NGO SOS Mediterranee, saved 125 refugees aboard a rubber raft yesterday 15 miles from the Libyan coast west of Tripoli. SOS Mediterranee operates in partnership with Doctors Without Borders. The vessel in trouble was first noted by the merchant ship Deep Vision around 7:30 a.m.: its crew kept (more…)
A large wooden boat loaded with migrants shipwrecked about thirty miles north of the Libyan coast. Eight cadavers and four survivors were collected. They said there had been 107 on board. Frontex ( European Union border police ) have dispatched an airplane and a rescue helicopter to the disaster scene, and some merchant ships are headed there to offer help, according to ANSA.
Yesterday three immigrants died off the coast of Lampedusa and 550 were saved in various rescue operations. One of the survivors was found hiding from the cold under two cadavers on a trafficker's boat. Three survivors, including one pregnant woman, were in grave condition.
114 people from Senegal, Guinea, Uganda, Mali and the Ivory Coast were saved by the crew of the NGO ship Aquarius, staffed by doctors without borders, during the night between 1 and 2 January 2017. They were 108 males and six females. 22 of them were minors, and 16 of those were unaccompanied minors, including three children, one under four years old, according to La Repubblica.
From The Guardian:
"Deaths linked to Mediterranean crossings by migrants trying to reach Europe have spiked in 2016. Last year, 3,771 deaths were recorded as more than a million people made the journey, mostly from Turkey to Greece. This year, about 360,000 people have crossed, most between Libya and Italy, with far more deadly results."
A terrible Christmas shipwreck, some hundred victims, many of which were women and children. The news comes from the UN refugee commission which said that two damaged rubber rafts went down in the in the Strait of Sicly with their human cargo. 143 were saved by the Italian Coast Guard. The rest are missing or dead.
Hindered by Force 5 winds and waves in the dark of night, the coast guard ship Gregoretti took on 573 migrants found in a shipwreck at sea last night. Two of the migrants, a man and a woman, were dead. Seven had severe respiratory problems, probably due to breathing in diesel fumes. One is in desperate (more…)
From the Washington Post:
By Michael Birnbaum November 30 at 1:00 AM
BRUSSELS — Migrants heading to Italy from Libya in leaky boats and inflatable dinghies have broken an annual arrivals record, Italian authorities said this week, underscoring the rising popularity of an increasingly deadly journey that nowadays aims not for land, but for a frigid mid-sea rescue.
The number of boat migrants reaching Italy from North Africa this year surpassed 171,000, topping the previous record of 170,100, set in 2014, the Italian Interior Ministry said Monday. But 2016 is also the most lethal year for those trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. So far, 4,690 people have died en route, compared with 3,771 deaths for all of last year, according to the U.N. refugee agency.
From The Guardian:
"You can smell the camp before you see it. The stench of rank sewage cuts through the crisp morning air in this quiet corner of western Sicily. From a distance it looks like an open-air dump, festering amid the olive groves. Men emerge from flimsy tents pitched amid piles of rubbish and ramshackle huts made of cardboard and plastic sheets.
This makeshift and filthy encampment is home to 1,200 people. All African refugees and migrants, they are desperately competing for the opportunity to work long hours in the fields as illegal agricultural workers for paltry, exploitative wages. It is autumn in Sicily. There is olive oil to be made...."
Save the Children's rescue ship Vos Hestia arrived Trapani, Sicily this morning bearing 400 migrants saved off the coast of Libya. Among them many children and women. One woman gave birth on the rescue ship. Another 641 disembarked at Catania, Sicily from the ship Aquarius run by the rescue group SOS Meditteranee.
About 240 people are suspected to have drowned this week in four separate incidents in the Mediterranean, raising the total annual death toll to an unprecedented 4,500.
From The Guardian
About 130 asylum seekers are missing after a rubber boat capsized on Sunday night, while another 100 are thought to have drowned on Tuesday night in a separate (more…)
550 people were saved in five distinct rescue operations on the Mediterranean Sea today. The rescues were coordinated by the Italian Coast Guard headquarters in Rome. In the course of the day, five corpses were also recovered from the waters.
From La Repubblica Palermo on line:
When they pulled them from the bottom of a that rubber raft about to go under their mother had just died, overcome by the mix of diesel fuel and sea water from which she tried to protect her two children. For the entire voyage of the ship Vos (more…)
From La Repubblica Palermo today:
"As the rain fell tensions rose," wrote Repubblica reporter Claudia Brunetto.
Disembarkation operations yesterday for hundreds of newly rescued boat people were only half done by 6 p.m.. The remaining hundreds were left on the ship's deck in the cold rain to await processing: a sandwich to eat, clothes (more…)
Four newborns, including one baby just months old, were among the 668 immigrants on 5 Zodiac rubber rafts saved this morning between 4 and 9 a.m. Italian time by the ship Bourbon Argos leased by Doctors Without Borders.
"It took us at least ten hours to save all of them. By luck the calm sea facilitated the (more…)
From La Repubblica Palermo online: 12 cadavers have already been pulled from the sea in the Strait of Sicily after a rubber raft went down 25 nautical miles north of the Libyan coast because of force 4 high winds and waves. As of this writing 29 people were saved. Rescuers came on five ships coordinated by the Rome (more…)
10,000 immigrants saved from the sea in the last two days, according to a story by Claudia Brunetto in La Repubblica today. 72 separate rescue operations in the Strait of Sicily. 28 bodies were also pulled from the sea, 22 of which had been aboard a vessel packed with abut a thousand people.
To honor the third anniversary of the drowning of 368 African immigrant at the dock of Lampedusa, Italian TV last night broadcast the Oscar nominated film Fuocoammare, Fire at Sea, filmed on Lampedusa. It does not have much distribution in the US. It was a beautiful sad poem. Like nothing I had ever seen before. (more…)
Today, Sunday, alone saw 1100 migrants saved from the Strait of Sicily. The Libyan traffickers sent off eight rubber rafts all at once. Also saved were two tiny boats full of complete Libyan families. This is a new phenomenon, according to a report in the daily La Repubblica. The Libyan families are autonomous immigrants escaping (more…)
From Reuters in Rome via The Guardian:
An Italian judge has acquitted two men accused of people-smuggling and murder, saying they had been forced at gunpoint by Libyan traffickers to drive a rubber boat packed with migrants last year.
The judge in the Sicilian city of Palermo on Wednesday ordered that Jammeh Sulieman and (more…)
More than a thousand migrants, including tiny babies, were rescued in the past few hours off the coast of Libya in several operations that involved the Italian Coast Guard and and Maltese ship. IN the video you can also see a rescuer who was overcome by the diesel fumes of one of the vessels, felt ill and fainted in the waters. Imagine having to smell the diesel fumes day and night without respite during the transit of the Mediterranean.
I just did the math. The traffickers generally charge around $2,000, a phenomenal sum for people from southern Africa. Then they cram them onto boats and rafts and send them off. Without food, life jackets, water or sufficient fuel, nor a compass nor anybody who knows how to run a boat. Under the broiling sun, no shade, crammed (more…)
My translation of the article in today's La Repubblica:
The Italian Coast Guard announced that it coordinated 40 rescue operations in the Strait of Sicily Sicily yesterday saving 6,500 people. Working with the coast guard were the Italian Navy, non-governmental organizations,a nd European Union forces including Frontex, which is the European border police, and Eunaformed. (more…)
The Libyan navy has admitted taking part in a confrontation with the refugee rescue boat the Bourbon Argos in international waters off the coast of Libya, following days of speculation about who attacked it.
A navy spokesman was reported to have claimed that Libyan forces had approached the rescue boat, chartered by the aid group Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), after its crew allegedly refused to identify themselves. But the navy denied that it had fired directly at the MSF boat, and claimed it did not board the boat itself.
While searching for shipwrecked immigrants 24 nautical miles off the Libyan coast on August 17 the Doctors Without Borders ship Bourbon Argos was fired upon by unknown men in a motor boat who then boarded the ship, then gave up their enterprise when they found that all crew had secured themselves in parts of the ship (more…)
Per the Italian news agency ANSA:
Two days ago 534 immigrants were saved in 11 rescue operations in the Strait of Sicily.Five bodies were recuperated. The migrants were aboard rubber rafts and nine small boats, according to the Italian Coast Guard, ANSA reported. Involved in the rescues were Italian Navy ship Sirius, the German Navy (more…)
It's been more than a week since choppy seas have prevented traffickers from sending their clients, indigent migrants and asylum seekers, off to find their own way to Europe. They are expecting the next wave of migrants to be a huge surge of people who have been backed up on the shores of Libya, waiting to embark. The traffickers are cruel. (more…)
5,500 migrants rescued since Friday, according to a report in today's La Repubblica.
Today 1,104people were rescued, but rescuers could see that five men had died who either jumped into the sea or were pushed and drowned when help arrived. On Saturday 935 were saved. On Friday 3,400. All Africans. Nearly 60 of them youths unaccompanied by parents (more…)
Tchamba tells what it was like to be forced into an unseaworthy vessel by human traffickers who don't care if you and your child live or die. Part of an internet campaign by the Italian government called "aware migrants" to warn potential immigrants of the dangers they face.
“Migration is a decision often based on false expectations: many migrants leave their home without a concrete project of precise idea of the socioeconomic and political situation of their country of destination,” said Aware Migrants.
Among the 628 refugees who arrived Pozzuolo, Sicily this morning was Miriam, a 17-year-old orphan girl escaping her native Gambia, who crossed the desert and the sea on her own. She told the Doctors Without Borders her story.
Her mother died when she was a small child and her father was taken to prison and never heard from again. He is presumed dead ecause he opposed the current regime in Gambia Miriam had no choice but to take what the call the Hell Road between AgDez in Nigeria and Libya. At Baransate she was the only girl. "They brought me to stay in an abandoned house with 17 other men. (more…)
The NGO rescue ship Aquarius was headed to Trapani, Sicily to change crews when at 10 a.m. local time today they received a call from the Italian Navy to return to the Libyan coast to aid two rubber rafts in trouble. Five hours later they arrived and this is what they found.
"As our crew approached the first raft they saw the cadavers floating in a sea of diesel fuel," declared Jens Pagotto, chief of the Doctors Without Borders in charge of the search and rescue missions.. "The survivors remained on the raft with the bodies are too traumatized to be able to tell what happened. It is still difficult to know how these women died."
This 20th rescue operation for the German-French volunteer ship saved 209 people from two sinking rafts, of which 177 were men and 32 were women, including 50 minors. Of the 22 corpses, 21 were women. For original article in French, go to:
Palermo city officials are pleading for help from the Italian national government. All alone they are expected to take care of all the refugees who are brought by rescue ships to the city which can't even afford desks for its schools. Today the largest part of the 1,146 migrants saved in 19 marine operations in the Strait of (more…)
Due to favorable weather conditions, the sea was full of migrants on unseaworthy boats and rafts headed to Europe. La Repubblica reports that 2500 of them were saved at sea yesterday and one cadaver recovered from a raft: the man did not make the crossing alive.
Their raft deflated and at least twenty of them drowned while help was on the way in the form of the rescue ship Siem Pilot, according to the Giornale di Sicilia today.
The 366 survivors ( imagine 366 people crowded on a single rubber raft!) were from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Nigeria. 259 of them were men, 82 were women and 25 minors.
More than 2,000 migrants arrived on Sicily since yesterday, according to La Repubblica. This morning the ship Siem Pilot brought 1,040 of them to Palermo, mostly men from sub Saharan African nations. Among them were 120 unaccompanied minors. At Trapani 656 migrants arrived including a baby born aboard the rescue ship. Meanwhile 496 migrants arrived yesterday at Pozzallo, Sicily,with four presumed traffickers among them.
Click on the caption to see the brief video if the embedded video does not appear here.
Baby Manuela was the second baby born aboard the Italian Navy ship Bettica. She was born July 5. Can you imagine taking the dangerous raft ride across the ocean about to give birth?! A baby boy named Francois Manuel was born aboard the Bettica on June 27 2016.
From La Repubblica:
The desperate crossings continue without letup. Today 4,500 migrants were saved at sea and along with one corpse were brought to Sicily. THe Italian Navy and Coast Guard, with an assist from a Frontex Euro border guards) ship and a non-governmental organization ship saved 4500 hundred lives in 35 rescue operations in the Straitof Sicily today.
From La Repubblica:
PALERMO - Noureddin Atta, a confessed human trafficker from Eritrea arrested in Italy in 2015, said that sometimes the migrants don't have the money for the trip across the desert, or they make it across the Sahara but cannot find the money to cross the Mediterranean. These people are consigned to Egyptians who pay around $15,000 per migrant. They come prepared to harvest organs and transport them in thermal bags.
From La Repubblica:
A Zodiac rubber raft full of immigrants flipped over 20 miles from the Libyan coast today and ten women were drowned, while 107 survivors were saved by the coast guard. A new tragedy that happened the same day in which the sunken fishing boat that went down 18 April 2015 in the Strait of Sicily, (more…)
The last two rescues were the ship's 14th and 15th.
From a gray rubber raft they saved 132 migrants: of them 1 were women and 31 children, 28 of whom were unaccompanied, the youngest ten years old. Most were from Guinea-Conakry, Ivory Coast and Mali. They spent between three days and and 2 weeks in a hangar on the (more…)
From The Guardian:
Ship crews have pulled more than 2,000 refugees from overcrowded boats in the Mediterranean, Italy’s coastguard has said, as people-smugglers stepped up operations during two consecutive days of good weather.
More than 7,100 people have now been rescued from international waters since Thursday, many of them on the dangerous journey from Libya.
More than nine out of 10 refugee and migrant children arriving in Europe through Italy this year are travelling alone, the UN children’s agency, Unicef, said on Tuesday, warning of the “appalling” risks children face while escaping conflict and poverty.
Click on the photo caption to read the story in today's online The Guardian.
Along with the thousands of decent people who risk their lives to get to Europe by boat or raft come a small number of Nigerian criminals. In Palermo they congregate in the Ballaro market and co exist with the native Cosa Nostra in an uneasy relationship. Click on the caption to read the story in The Guardian.
392 migrants landed at Palermo's Four Winds dock today: 464 men, 119 women, 9 children aboard the Doctors without Borders rescue ship Bourbon Argon, which also carried 4 pregnant women and several unaccompanied children.
More than 2500 rescued immigrants will land in southern Italy between today and tomorrow. The Fgs Frankfurt will land at 4 p.m. at Messina, Sicily 514 immigrants (more…)
The NGO rescue ship Auarius this morning made two rescues of craft in distress in the Mediterranean Sea. The first craft carried 101 immigrants comprising 96 men and 5 women, according to the SOS Mediterranee website. The second craft in distress carried 138 people: 110 men and 28 women. The people taken aboard ship this morning were mostly from the (more…)
Today 96 immigrants were saved by the rescue ship Aquarius: 74 men including numerous minors and 22 women of whom 3 were pregnant, and two children under five. Numerous men were injured and were immediately treated by the onboard medical team of Doctors Without Borders. Today's mission makes a total of 2,002 people saved by the volunteers on the Aquarius.
Of the estimated 400 lost at sea from this one incident 40 were children, survivors say. As always, those who could not afford a position on deck were locked in the hold and died trapped there when the boat flipped Thursday. Those people would be the women and children.
One old fishing trawler was towing another with a rope (more…)
From SOS Mediterranee. Saved from a shipwreck on Wednesday, these African women mostly from Ivory Coast and Cameroon danced and sang hymns aboard the NGO rescue ship Aquarius when the coast of Sardinia, where they were being taken, came (more…)
A converted fishing traler overloaded with immigrants partially sank today in the Mediterranean between Africa and Sicily. T Italian Navy ship Vega saved 135 people, recuperated 45 bodies and rescuers are searching for at least 20 people still missing at sea.
Eighteen rescue operations took place today. Some 1,900 people were aboard 16 rubber rafts, all rescued. Several hundred (more…)
Baby Favour, newly orphaned immigrant from Nigeria, saved from a shipwreck by a woman from Cameroon who watched the baby's mother drown, a burn victim who was drowning herself, was met by the mayor of Palermo, Leoluca Orlando when she arrived in the Sicilian capital accompanied by the chief of police, Maria Volpe. The (more…)
Little Favour from Nigeria lost both her parents when the rubber raft they were on flipped all the passengers into the Mediterranean Sea, but she was saved by a 52-year-old Cameroonian woman with severe burns over her body. The Cameroonian woman is named Sofii and is in hospital in Palermo. Little Favour, in the (more…)
This overcrowded overhauled fishing trawler carrying some 600 immigrants capsized in the Mediterranean Wednesday. Click on the caption to read the story in The Guardian.
From The Guardian: "The boat is the latest of at least 38 smuggling vessels to be rescued in the southern Mediterranean since the start of the week. More than 6,000 lives have (more…)
Bernadette, one of the hundreds saved Wednesday by the non profit German and French rescue ship the Aquarius, gave birth to a baby boy around 5 p.m.. When it was learned the mother had gone into labor the ship went full steam ahead towards Sardinia so the child could be born on land, but (more…)
Imagine the horror.
A boat with about 600 migrants aboard capsized 18 miles off the coast of Libya. More than 500 immigrants were saved but already seven deaths have been ascertained and more are feared drowned. The immigrants had made a satellite telephone call for help and the Italian ships Bettica and Bergamini arrived. The boat had capsized because it (more…)
A woman refugee who arrived in Palermo on a rescue ship Friday has died in hospital from stress of the voyage, according to a report in today's La Repubblica.
She arrived in grave condition: malnourished, stressed from the voyage through the desert, the long wait on the African coast and the sea crossing. Today, (more…)
For its eighth and ninth rescies the French ship Aquarius bellonging to the non profit SOS Mediterranee rescued 253 shipwreck victims on two rubber rafts. The first mission saved 137 immigrants including six women and6 children under 16 years old. The were mostly from Guinea-Conakry and Mali. Two of the women were dehydrated and very weak. At least three people had broken arms. Doctors on board said at least one broken arm was due to maltreatment and torture. As soon as these immigrants were on board the Aquarius went to its next rescue, of 116 people on another sinking raft, including 16 women and a three-year-old child.
Then the Aquarius was asked by the naval center in Rome to welcome aboard 115 other migrants who were saved by the German navy in order to take them to Italy.
From Vice News, a story by Rebecca Murray:
In an impoverished and violent neighborhood on the edge of Sebha in Libya's southern desert, 30-year-old Ibrahim from Burkina Faso is struggling to survive — and to move on.
He's stuck here, working at a laundry to make money, because he needs to save for the ride north over 400 miles of desert to Libya's coast, and a place on a boat to Italy. It's dangerous for migrants like him, who pass through here on the way from sub-Saharan Africa to what they hope is a better life in Europe.
Warring local tribes, and gangs preying on migrants, are a daily threat.
"All the time guns are turned against us to rob us," said Ibrahim, who would only give a first name, while gesturing towards a group of men also from Burkina Faso, gathered warily outside a dilapidated storefront. "Four months ago I was actually shot here by one man."
Last year, friends who had made it to Europe called Ibrahim at home and told him about how they were doing better there. So he left behind his wife, newborn baby, and work selling goods on the street, and invested $300 for the brutal desert trek with smugglers to reach Sebha. Ibrahim now needs the same amount to reach the coast at Tripoli, and up to $1,000 more to cross the Mediterranean Sea. That's a staggering sum for someone from Burkina Faso, where gross national income per capita is $700.
You may be wondering why I post so much about African immigrants landing in Sicily and what they go through. It's because I spent six months in Palermo and talked to many of them and heard the harrowing stories, a young guy in a shipwreck who saw his brother go overboard and drown, a (more…)
From today's La Repubblica:
Merchant ship and Italian Coast Guard ships carried 998 immigrants toward Italian shores this morning. They had left from the Egyptian coast. The Coast Guard ship Peluso brought 342 to safety at Augusta, Sicily, they were many men, women and children. The immigrants who landed at Augusta had gone to sea squashed (more…)
With the good weather more and more rubber rafts and big old fishing boats full of desperate immigrants take off from Libyan shores to tackle the crossing to Sicily. Here is a photo tweeted by a volunteer on the rescue ship Aquarios operated by the group SOS Mediterrane`. The rescue ships had already taken (more…)
From The Guardian:
"The chances of finding legitimate work – with youth unemployment in Italy at 37% – are slim, and his asylum application is unlikely to succeed: 66% of claims by Gambians last year were rejected, according to Eurostat.
Across Italy, migrants spend their days in parks, or loiter outside bus and train stations, homesick and shocked (more…)
The weather is clearing in the Mediterranean Sea so immigrants' voyages of despair are picking up. Three Italian ships rescued 1,664 people from nine rubber rafts in trouble. The ship Bettica aided five rafts saving a total of 588 people. The ship Bergamini saved 476 people from two rafts ( can you imagine more than 200 people on a rubber raft????!!!) The ship Grecale picked up 600 immigrants from two rafts and is headed toward Trapani, Sicily with them.
from the Giornale di Sicilia:
249 African immigrants on an old fishing boat were saved last night by the Italian coast guard ship Dattilo which was sent to pick them up after Roman authorities received an emergency satellite cell phone call from the foundering fishing boat. They were 200 nautical miles east of Sicily but within (more…)
Remember my blog about Yusupha Susso, the young Gambian refugee in Palermo who was shot in the head by a mafioso who wanted to prove he owned the territory the young man and his friends were standing in? Yusupha survived after five days in an induced coma. He speaks five languages, is the son (more…)
The caption says:
Some 500 refugees, not shown, were feared dead after a shipwreck in the Mediterranean."
Why do you think the Daily News used a photo of white people in trouble at sea when the disappeared immigrants were all from African countries? There are plenty of file photos of black immigrants being saved.
From the Giornale di Sicilia:
They said they left Libya on a rubber raft carrying 130-140 people. 108 f them were rescued by the Ship Aquarius of the SOS Mediterranean non profit group. Two drowned, six bodies were found on the bottom of the raft which had bent into a V shape, disabled, the motor (more…)
There is a boat carrying 500 immigrant missing in the Mediterranean. The boat left Egypt three days ago and nothing has been heard of them since.
The alarm was given by the Rome-based Eritrean priest Musie Zerai, for years a reference point for immigrants who find themselves in trouble in the Mediterranean sea. A few of the (more…)
33 immigrants were rescued by the Italian Coast Guard near Noto. According to La Repubblica they were probably Iraqis, Syrians, Afghanis and Somalians who left Turkey four days ago on a merchant ship who were then made to get off the ship and onto a motorboat after midnight last night.
Meanwhile the ship Orion which took aboard 464 immigrants rescued in the Strait of Sicily n four separate rescue operations by the Orion (106) the ship Bettica (118), the motorboats Aquarius (116) and Gaz Victory (124)
It took all night to process the nearly 900 African immigrants saved from the Mediterranean Sea by the Norwegian ship Siem Pilot. Among them were 138 unaccompanied minors. Four people fell into the sea during the crossing, two were saved, two drowned. Story from La Repubblica.
Inhumane conditions caused inmates to protest at an immigration holding center in Palermo this morning where 250 people are being held in a center designed to hold no more than 180 people, according to a report in La Repubblica. More immigrants are on the way. By tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. the Norwegian ship "Siem Pilot" (more…)
This little boy from the Democratic Republic of the Congo made the entire sea crossing from Libya to Sicily dressed in a suit jacket and bow tie. His mother had told him that it would be the most important voyage of his life and that he was going to a country where the people (more…)
Yesterday brought 470 new immigrants to the Sicilian coast town of Pozzallo, from four different rescue operations in the Mediterranean. One trafficker was arrested not only for promoting clandestine entry into Europe but also for the death of one immigrant who died suffocated under the weight of too many people in one rubber raft. Can you imagine? (more…)
Last night the Italian Coast Guard saved 270 immigrants found in dire straits at sea, including about 50 women and children, according to La Repubblica Palermo online. All the immigrants were all right despite being exhausted by their difficulties and the cold.. They all came from the sub-Saharan countries of Mali, Cameroon, Nigeria, Congo, Guinea and (more…)
The Italian Navy ship Bettica rescued a hundred migrants from motorized rubber raft in trouble in the Strait of Sicily today according to La Repubblica. Among the 100 migrants were seven women and 20 minors. Now that spring is coming, the migrant traffic, and subsequent deaths from drowning, will pick up.
The EU offers asylum to (more…)
Italian Navy ships rescued 731 immigrants this morning, Tuesday 23 Feb. 2016, according to La Repubblica. The ship Cigala Fulgosi picked up a total of 407 migrants including 4 dead bodies. The ship Bettica helped two imbarcations in trouble taking aboard 219 migrants. The ship Scirocco coordinated the rescue operations and picked up 105 migrants.
No sign of this story in the New York Times. (more…)
A 30-foot wooden craft containing thirty live immigrants presumably of North African origin arrived on the coast of Torre Salsa in the town of Siculiana in the province of Agrigento at nine this morning. The immigrants said when they left the coast of Libya, there were 40 people aboard, the rest drowned at sea. The (more…)
From the Corriere del Mezzogiorno:
110 migrants mostly from Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Ghana arrived in good shape at five this morning on the shores of Lampedusa, the Sicilian island closest to Africa. Among them were 10 women and 4 children.
From me: In the clamor over the plight of white Syrian immigrants who cross the Mediterranean from Turkey (more…)
The Norwegian Frontex ship Siem Pilot picked up 723 migrants at sea and the body of one Somali man who died during the voyage, according to La Repubblica.
Among the migrants were 29 unaccompanied minors , several pregnant women and a handicapped person with leg problems. This morning they were brought to safe harbor in Trapani.
When an overcrowded immigrant boat capsized just off the coast of Lampedusa and killed hundreds of people, island carpenter Francesco Tuccio met some of the survivors in his local church. Some of the survivors were Eritrean Christians fleeing from persecution in their home country. Though unable to help them in a concrete way, he (more…)
This morning the Italian coast guard ship Dattilo delivered 246 migrants it picked up in a vessel off the coast of Libya: 218 men, 27 women, and a minor, plus one cadaver, according to a report in La Repubblica. They are disembarking at Catania.
The report did not mention what countries the immigrants are from.
More than 500 immigrants rescued by two military ships and Doctors Without Borders were brought safely to land in Augusta, Sicily this day. La Repubblica's story about them did not mention where they were from because it just happened. I doubt you will read about this in the U.S. papers but 500-plus lives matter.
A corpse arrived in Trapani along with 308 immigrants around 8 this morning aboard a Doctors Without Borders ship,, according to La Repubblica. It seems the dead person suffered some health problems while aboard one of three motorized rubber raft rescued two days ago from waters off the coast of Libya by three ships,
the Spanish (more…)
Palermo: more than a thousand immigrants were saved in aid operations about thirty miles off the Libyan coast last night. They were trying to reach Italy aboard six motorized rubber rafts and one old fishing boat. Aboard the fishing boat were crowded 400 migrants, who were saved by te British ship Enterprise. Three other ships, (more…)
Seven women and one man were found dead aboard a rubber raft rescued off the coast of Libya today. The dead had apparently died from asphyxiation and struggle, according to La Repubblica. The other 113 aboard were taken to a safe place by an Italian military ship. Over the weekend a total of 1,300 immigrants were rescued at sea.
A group of young German utopians on Sunday moored a rescue platform for migrants off the Sicilian coast. They designed it, built it and financed it with crowdfunding. A delegation from the collective Zentrum für Politische Schönheit literally Center for Political Beauty- left the port of Licata shortly after dawn and at (more…)
Two years ago today a migrant boat just a few feet from Europe's shores flipped over when it arrived in the dark and someone lit a shirt on fire to alert authorities and everyone moved to one side of the boat to avoid the flames. Worldwide reaction: shock, then forgetting, moving on. Survivors are (more…)
I listened to Soraya Sahadi Nelson report on the refugee crisis from Berlin on the NPR national news last night. She talked about the people walking from Syria. When asked by the show host about refugees in the Mediterranean, she talked about the WHITE people moving through Greece. She didn't mention the 5,000-plus black (more…)
A 5-day-old baby was amog the migrants rescued by the Italian military ship Mimbelli in the Strait of Sicily. They were on an old fishing boat, overcrowded to say the least. There were 54 women and 45 children. Two of the women were 9 months pregnant. They were all transferred to another ship and brought to the (more…)
Two African refugees learn to crew a racing sailboat with an Italian team at the world championships in Barcelona. The two African men had seen 150 of their fellow immigrants drown like flies before their (more…)
I noticed that with one picture of a Syrian boy, a Caucasian by race, a boy showing white skin between his pants leg and his little shoe, washed up limp and lifeless on a beach, Europe and the world stood up and took notice. God bless that boy, his brother, his mother, his bereaved father, his whole family and his country. I am going to use his picture at the top of all my stories about the African people who also die trying to get to Europe. (more…)
At 8 this morning Irish rescue ship L. E. Niamh arrived at the Sicilian port of Pozzallo carrying 329 immigrants rescued yesterday from a boat in difficulty in the Strait of Sicily. They were almost all men, with just 10 women this time. One was pregnant and was sent right away to a hospital for a check-up, according to La Repubblica.
80 Egyptian children and babies and 21 Egyptian adults arrived in Sicily today. The Coast Guard had never seen so many unaccompanied minors in one boat. They say most of the adults will be sent back to Egypt.
One Nigerian woman gave birth to a baby boy on the Coast Guard rescue ship that picked her (more…)
838 refugees from Africa are headed toward the Sicilian city of Messina today. A rubber raft went down off the coast of Libya, one person drowned. The ship Cigala Fulgosi will arrive at the Sicilian port of Augusta with 394 immigrants rescued. 781 immigrants, including 11 pregnant women, and six cadavers will arrive at the Sardinian port of Cagliari, according to the Palermo edition of today's La Repubblica online newspaper.
I noticed that Caucasian immigrants to Europe get a lot of press, but he continuing massacre of drowning African immigrants trying to get to Europe doesn't get covered in the states. I am giving you te news I read every day on the front page of La Repubblica online.
The rickety boatloads of immigrants (more…)
A beautiful story by my favorite La Repubblica reporter, Claudia Brunetto. I translate it here:
They arrived last June at the port of Palermo, picked up on the high seas by a military ship. And since then they live in the parish of Falsomiele, guided by Father Sergio Mattaliano, director of the Catholic charity (more…)
At least ten people drown when the rubber raft they were in bounced and flipped. They were escaping Africa. They are not allowed in Europe, and so they travel clandestinely, as best they can, because ironically they must set foot in Europe in order to claim asylum. They cannot ask for help from the shores of Tripoli. (more…)