Europe: 13,000 migrants across the sea to Italy last week – 900 dead


A warm spring weather has in recent days covered the central Mediterranean area, and again heavy traffic across the sea from Libya to Italy has begun.

Approximately 13,000 people have been picked up by European – mainly Italian, German and Irish – rescue vessels along this route during the past week, writes The Guardian.

The newspapers writes that the migrants, who often use not very seaworthy boats, are rescued and taken to Europe, specifically Sicily or the Italian mainland.

The Italian newspaper La Repubblica writes that approximately 900 people have drowned or went missing at sea during the past week – many of them children. 400 people, including 40 children, are presumed dead after a boat that came from Sabratha in Libya, took in water and sank off Sicily, having first been attempted towed by another boat.

Three hundred people who had paid the lowest price for the trip were in the cargo room without knowing what was about to happen, and few of those could save themselves. A Sudanese man accused of human trafficking gave the order to cut the rope, which sealed the fate of many aboard. He has since been detained by Italian police.

The human cost of transportation across the Mediterranean is therefore still high.

The strange dynamics with rescue vessels only encourage migrants to embark on even more dangerous journeys than they otherwise would have dared, as they gamble on being rescued, thus the migration continues on a massive scale along the central Mediterranean route.

Meanwhile the number of migrants along the Greek route is now down to a few hundred a week because of strict border controls in neighbouring countries, which migrants have to pass to get to the honeypots up north (Germany, Sweden, UK, etc.)

Corriere della Sera writes that those who have come to Italy in recent days, are mostly Nigerians, Eritreans, Gambians and Somalis.

Few of these will want to remain in Italy, but the country’s neighboring states in north do not want a massive traffic of transit-migrants across the border.

How the consequences of these conflicting desires will unfold in practice, we’ll probably get an idea about within a few weeks, when the weather becomes even better and the mass-migration picks up even more.


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