panorama South Italy island

Refugee boats with 1,200 people docked in Lampedusa

Several boats with around 1,200 people docked on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa. Meanwhile, judicial authorities in Sicily have again arrested a German rescue ship of the Sea-Watch relief organization.

IIn Italy, the number of boat migrants arriving across the Mediterranean has risen sharply. On the small island of Lampedusa alone, around 1,200 people arrived in several boats over the weekend, ANSA reported on Sunday. Lampedusa is located between North Africa and Sicily. In the past few weeks, marine rescue workers have also noted that a large number of migrants are again making the dangerous journey to Europe in inflatable boats and small wooden ships, often from Libya.

“In good weather, the number of arrivals will increase again,” said Mayor Tutu Martello, RAI radio. Matteo Salvini, leader of the right-wing Liga party, called on Prime Minister Mario Draghi to address the issue.

Meanwhile, according to media reports, the judicial authorities in Sicily have again arrested a German rescue ship of the Sea-Watch relief organization.

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When the Sea-Watch 4 was inspected, far too many life jackets were found on board. The authority said the ship’s sewage system was not designed for such a large number of people who had been rescued.

Activists used the search as an excuse to capture the ship. “We hope the authorities will not prevent us from leaving the central Mediterranean with ridiculous accusations that we have already got used to,” Sea-Watch Italy said.

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The road between North Africa and Sicily is one of the most dangerous for refugees

The Italian Coast Guard confiscated another ship of the organization, the “Sea-Watch 3”, in the Sicilian port of Augusta in March. In this case, too, the authority relied on violations of safety regulations.

The sea route across the Mediterranean is one of the most important routes for refugees on their way to Europe. According to a statistic International Organization for Migration (IOM) Nearly 530,000 people have arrived in Italy in this way since the start of 2015, including about 6,000 since the start of the year.

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However, the road between North Africa and Sicily is also one of the most dangerous for refugees. Since January alone, according to the International Organization for Migration, more than 200 people have drowned or gone missing in the Mediterranean on their way to Italy or Malta.


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