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Heart of Palermo

coral forest discovered

Click on the caption to see some hidden Sicilian treasure in the Eolian isles.
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Sicilians offer swimming, diving lessons to refugees traumatized by their sea crossing

From the Washington Post:
By Michael Birnbaum July 15 at 7:12 PM
MESSINA, Italy — Abdoulie Jallow lives on the Sicilian coast, but until recently, looking at the Mediterranean Sea filled him with dread.
The azure water reminded the 17-year-old Gambian of his journey from Libya last year, a middle-of-the-night departure on an overcrowded dinghy in which he had to abandon himself to his faith in God. Read More 
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512 rescued migrants and 7 cadavers arrived trapani this morning

The boat docked shortly after 7:30 this morning at the port of Trapani, Sicily. The Italian Coast Guard ship "Diciotti" carried 512 immigrants rescued in the last few days on the Mediterranean Sea. Also aboard were seven cadavers of people who had drowned before rescuers could reach them.
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Rescue NGO MOAS responds to questions about funding

Rescuers have been accused by some Sicilian authorities of taking money from traffickers to fund their efforts. Here is part of the response from MOAS:
"When questioned about why all our disembarkations are carried out in Italy, and not say, Malta or Tunisia, our representatives explained that MOAS is not the decision-maker in this  Read More 
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245 migrants feared dead in Mediterranean

United Nations officials said on Tuesday that 245 migrants were feared dead in two shipwrecks in the Mediterranean Sea. The death toll represents a major increase to an already grim tally this year.

More than 1,300 people are now estimated to have died while trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe in 2017, most while attempting to  Read More 
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MOAS ship Phoenix docks at Catania with hundreds of migrants and dead boy

From La Repubblica 6 May 2017
CATANIA, Sicily -- The rescue ship Phoenix belonging to the non-governmental organization MOAS docked at this port this morning bearing 394 rescued migrants and one dead 10-year-old boy who was allegedly murdered by his trafficker. MOAS co-founder Regina Catrambone, who was also aboard, said the boy was pistol- whipped to death by a trafficker when the boy refused to give the trafficker his baseball cap. NGOs rescuing migrants at sea have been accused by certain Catania officials of accepting money from traffickers to pick up shipwrecked migrants and plague Europe with them. Catambrone and the other NGOs say they run their operations with donations from supporters. Read More 
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Rescue ship Prudence returns with five bodies

From La Repubblica Palermo online, 5 May 2019:
CATANIA -- The Doctors Without Borders research and rescue ship Prudence docked at Catania at 7 this morning with the bodies of six dead immigrants who had drowned in the Mediterranean. Five women and one man who had left Libya aboard improvised small boats along with hundreds of people fleeing famine and poverty in Africa. For the volunteers of Doctors Without Borders it was difficult to identify them: the six had been dead in the water for days before being picked up by volunteers. Read More 
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Rescue ship Aquarius returning to Sicily with 187 people rescued at sea

Doctors Without Borders in the Mediteranean operates from a NGO shp Aquarius to save migrants standed and in danger of drowning at sea . Today they resued 187 migrants.
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the human cost of european hypocisy on libya

When he saw boats in the distance, Issa knew he was going to live. It was July 2014 and he had spent hours in the sea, clinging to a plastic petrol container while women, men and children drowned around him. The small rubber boat that was supposed to take them all to Italy had sunk just two hours after leaving the Libyan coast. Of the 137 people Issa says were on board, only 49 survived.

Issa, from Burkina Faso, was not rescued by any passing ship but was picked up by the Libyan coastguard. Rather than being taken to a safe port in Italy as he had hoped, he was returned to Libya where he was handed over to the police. He says he was locked up for months in appalling conditions and beaten regularly by policemen who demanded money in exchange for his release.

“My hands were tied behind my back,” he said. “I was laying on the floor facing down, and they were beating me on the back with a belt and electric cables.”

Only after Issa’s family scraped together 625 OOO CFA (about £900), was he finally released.

In September last year, he tried to reach Italy again but after three days at sea, the boat he was on landed back on Libyan shores. “We were arrested upon arrival and taken to a prison in Tripoli, and two weeks later we were transferred to the city of Sabha. We learnt that we had been sold to traffickers.” After a month in captivity, he and others managed to escape. “Our abductors shot some people. I don’t know whether any of them died,” he said. Read More 
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100 stranded at sea for more than 30 hours

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.  Read More 
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