Shipwreck off Lampedusa leaves dozens dead amid limited progress in talks on relocation and disembarkation.
The bodies of 13 women been recovered while eight children are still missing after a boat carrying about 50 people capsized in rough seas off the Italian island of Lampedusa on Sunday night. According to an initial reconstruction of events, all the people on board moved to one end of the vessel causing it to overturn when an Italian patrol boat arrived to transfer them. Italian authorities have rescued 22 people from the boat. The shipwreck comes six years after a shipwreck in the same area left 366 people dead. The civilian rescue vessel Ocean Viking supported Italian authorities in their search for those still missing and now proceeded to the central Mediterranean to monitor for boats in distress.
44 people rescued by the NGO vessel Open Arms on Sunday were allowed to disembark in Malta on Tuesday morning. The group was transferred from the Open Arms to a patrol boat of the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM). In an tweet, the founder of the NGO Proactiva Open Arms operating the vessel, Oskar Camps, stated that Malta’s Armed Forces had encouraged the NGO to leave people adrift at sea if they were not acutely in distress.
Greek coast guards report that they rescued 104 refugees and migrants in three separate operations in the eastern and south-eastern Aegean on Sunday.
At a meeting of EU interior ministers in Luxemburg on Tuesday, seven Member states declared their willingness to commit to a plan for disembarking and relocating people rescued by NGO vessels in the Central Mediterranean. The proposal was launched by Malta, Italy, France and Germany at a meeting in September and foresees that participating parties take in a fixed quote of those rescued at each incident for a period of six months. Luxemburg, Portugal and Ireland are ready to join the coalition of the willing.
According to Missing Migrants, at least 1071 have died trying to reach Europe via the Mediterranean in 2019.
For further Information:
- ECRE, Med: At 6th Anniversary of Lampedusa Shipwreck Death Toll Reaches 1000, October 2019
- ECRE, Operation Sophia: Ships Remain Suspended while Support of Libyan ‘Coast Guard’ Continues, September 2019
- ECRE, Mediterranean: Over 400 Rescued while Deaths Continue, September 2019, September 2019
- ECRE, Stand-offs Continue at the Mediterranean Despite New Government in Italy, September 2019
- ECRE, MED: Silver Lining Looms on the Horizon while NGOs Endure Salvini’s ‘Final Blow’, September 2019
- ECRE, Deaths and Standoffs on the Med Reinforce Calls for State-led SAR, August 2019
- ECRE, Mediterranean: Deaths, Rescues and Political Manoeuvres Continue, June 2019
- ECRE, UN Agencies Raise Alarm over Libya on Land and Sea, June 2019
- ECRE, Interception and Return of 170 Refugees to Libya, May 2019
- ECRE, From Bad to Worse for Migrants Trapped in Detention in Libya, May 2019
- ECRE, Last Breath of Operation Sophia Should Push Coalition of the Willing, March 2019
- ECRE, A Contingency Plan for Disembarkation and Relocation, January 2019
Photo: (CC) Tom Lee, August 2015