Activists blame Italy’s slow response time for death of 30 migrants off Libya coast

Streaming HUBMarch 13, 2023

An activist network that supports rescue operations in the Mediterranean is accusing Italy of failing to provide timely assistance to a smugglers’ boat in distress, resulting in a deadly shipwreck that left at least 30 migrants missing. and presumed dead in the Libyan search-and-rescue. Area.

Seventeen survivors were rescued on Sunday about 100 miles off the Libyan coast in an operation partly coordinated by the Italian coast guard. The incident comes two weeks after another shipwreck off the coast of southern Italy killed at least 79 people.

The wreck has focused on Italian and European protocols for responding to suspected smuggling boats; Crossings through the deadly central Mediterranean have doubled in the past year.

In the most recent incident the migrants died when their wooden boat capsized as a merchant ship, the Froland, carrying about 50 people approached the boat in distress.

The alarm phone, which alerts authorities of migrants needing rescue, said it had informed Italian, Libyan and Maltese authorities of the boat’s location, stressing that it was at risk due to high waves. I was in It claimed that the migrants died due to “fatal non-assistance by the Italian authorities”, noting that the same boat was seen by another group conducting surveillance flights nine hours after their initial report.

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An activist group said a slow response to Italy's rescue operation has caused the death of 30 migrants off the Libyan coast.

An activist group said a slow response to Italy’s rescue operation has caused the death of 30 migrants off the Libyan coast.

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“This delay is one of many systematic delays that Alarm Phone has documented over the years that have proved fatal,” the organization said on Sunday. “They would have been alive if Europe had not decided to let them drown.”

Italy has denied failing to respond to migrant boats in the crisis, and Premier Giorgia Meloni will answer questions in parliament this week on Italy’s response to the shipwreck off Calabria two weeks ago. Italian authorities brought more than 1,000 rescued migrants to Italian shores over the weekend.

Regarding Sunday’s shipwreck, the Italian coast guard said it asked three merchant ships to respond to an emergency after Libyan authorities informed them they were not able to. Another boat was already in the area and in direct contact with the alarm phone.

The Froland, which was the first to arrive, rescued 17 survivors. It was bringing two of them to Malta for immediate medical care and would continue to Italy with the other 15.

The Italian coast guard said commercial ships continued to search for the missing migrants, aided by aerial surveillance flights operated by Frontex, the European border control.

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