At least 30 migrants disappear in a new shipwreck in the Mediterranean | International | The USA Print

At least 30 migrants are missing after the boat with which they had left the Libyan coast sank this Sunday in the rescue zone that corresponds to the authorities of that North African country. The boat capsized about 110 miles (177 kilometers) northwest of the Libyan city of Benghazi as a merchant ship tried to rescue the migrants amid high waves. Only 17 of them could be saved, according to a statement from the Italian Coast Guard. The text specifies that the search operation for the missing continues by merchant ships and two Frontex planes, the European agency for border control. This new event occurred just two weeks after at least 79 migrants died just over 100 meters from the coast of the Italian town of Steccato di Cutro, in Calabria.

Alarm Phone, a network of activists who receive calls from barges that are in danger in the Central Mediterranean, had denounced the shipwreck in the morning and accused the Italian authorities in a tweet of not intervening, despite that they had been informed that the migrants were in danger at dawn this Saturday. The organization then requested an immediate ransom which, according to its version, did not take place.

“We are in a state of shock. According to different sources, dozens of people from this ship in distress have drowned,” stressed the tweet, which accused the Italian authorities of having deliberately delayed the rescue, “leaving them to die.”

In its statement this Sunday, the Italian Coast Guard stressed that the boat was in the Libyan search and rescue zone and pointed out how it had registered “the inactivity of the other National Centers for Maritime Coordination and Rescue involved in the area” in reference to Libya and Malta.

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The text then explained that the merchant ship Basilis L. He reported that he had the boat in sight, that it was adrift, and that he was having difficulties in rescuing them due to the adverse weather conditions. The statement from the Coast Guard ensures that the Libyan authorities, responsible for the search and rescue activities in that area, did not have naval means, for which they requested the support of the National Maritime Rescue Coordination Center of Rome, as required. international maritime salvage conventions.

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Rome, always according to the statement, immediately sent an emergency message via satellite to all ships in transit to go to the area where the boat in which at least 47 people were traveling finally sank.

Alarm Phone confirmed that the Italian authorities had instructed the merchant ships present in that area to come to the rescue of the barge, but maintains that they limited themselves to observing for 24 hours, as shown in a video taken by a small plane another rescue NGO, Sea Watch. The recording shows the barge in great difficulties due to the strong waves and the merchant ships trying to protect it from the waves but without intervening.

This new shipwreck occurs shortly after the tragedy of February 26 off the coast of Cutro, in Calabria, in southern Italy, in which at least 79 migrants died, many of them Afghans, Syrians and Iranians, when the old wooden fishing boat in which they had departed days before from Turkey sank just over a hundred meters from the coast. This event has motivated the opening of an investigation to clarify the possible responsibilities of the Italian Coast Guard, which did not intervene despite the fact that Frontex pointed out the presence of the ship.

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Another rescue NGO, Mediterranea Saving Humans, criticized this Sunday that, “a few days after the Cutro shipwreck, we find ourselves before a new dramatic case of non-assistance and delay in rescuing people in danger at sea”, and added: “Everything possible must be done immediately to recover the missing and the survivors.”

For her part, the new secretary of the opposition Democratic Party (PD), Elly Schlein, alluded to the event during an assembly that is being held this Sunday in Rome. “News reached me of a new shipwreck, in which more people would have died, off the coast of Libya. It seems that this ship asked for help and was told to contact the Libyan coast guard. It is a disgrace for Italy and for Europe, we cannot continue to see the Mediterranean reduced to a great open-air cemetery. That’s why I ask for a minute of silence,” Schlein said.

In the last five days, nearly 4,000 migrants have reached Italian shores. Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani stated in a radio interview that “the situation is worrying. Europe must take notice.” Since the beginning of 2023, 17,592 migrants have arrived on the Italian shores, triple the number of the same period last year (5,976).

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