Thursday, October 03, 2013

Blog 4: Italy Boat Wreck

Italy Boat Wreck: Hundreds of Migrants feared dead after ship sinks off Lampedusa

In a recent attempt by African migrants to cross the Mediterranean in order to start a new life in Italy and Europe as a whole, they have found themselves part of a massive tragedy off the shores of the Lampedusa Island in Italy. They paid the ultimate price almost 300 men, women, and children are feared to have drowned out of 500 aboard the 20 metre vessel. The boat itself was in sight of the shore but it had caught fire and sunk before they could reach their destination. Witnesses of the tragic events could only describe the Mediterranean sea “was like a morgue”.
The migrants were believed to be from Eritrea, and Somalia where the boat left from Libyan shores. In the past decade thousands of migrants have died in the same way but this is the worst specific incident over the last 10 or so years.
The tragic story begun when the boats motor died on them, which then led to the boat taking on water. The passengers had no means of technology to call for help so they started a fire for signal, but the fuel, mixed with water led the boat to light up. The 500 passengers crammed to one side of the boat which left everyone to be flung or forced into the sea. It is expected 3 out of 100 women were rescued and no children were saved.
Simona Marcelli who is a legal expert for International Migration in Rome stated “Most of the migrants can’t swim. Only the strongest survived.”
A young Tunisian man has been detained after the events of this wreck, he is believed to be of the crew and also a trafficker, he faces charges of many counts of murder. The Mediterranean is very calm at this time of the year which means a lot of boats from Africa and the Middle East are carrying migrants to Europe, many of which are not sea worthy. These are desperate people trying to start a new life and the traffickers are the people who will risk everything and take their money.
European Commission has called for Europe to step up its efforts in preventing these horrors from occurring. The Commissioner said “we also need to intensify our efforts to fight criminal networks exploiting human despair”
In response to this, Italian Foreign minister said “there is no miraculous solution to the migrant exodus issue. If there were, we would have found it and put it into action”
People from Africa are always going to be searching for a new life in Europe, and there is always going to be a criminal network of traffickers willing to risk these tragedies and take them. There needs to be stricter coastal regulations in order to stop the boats or allow assistance to shore otherwise there will be a lot more of these types of tragedies in the future. 

James Dougherty

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