Migrants’ Boat in the Mediterranean

Yesterday evening, a boat carrying 298 among migrants, asylum seekers and refugees finally reached after six days of wandering on the high seas the town of Pozzallo, in South Sicily. On Friday, the boat sent out an SOS to the Italian Coastal Guard but help was slow to come. As it often happens, the presence of migrants and refugees on the Mediterranean Sea started a diplomatic contention, this time, between Italy and Malta. In this case, there is little clarity on Malta’s conduct. The Italian newspaper La Repubblica  reported that, according to some rumors, Maltese authorities had authorized Tripoli to send war ships to bring the migrants back to Libya. Malta, on the other hand, responded that it did nothing to rescue the migrants’ boat because the Italian tank ship Antignano was already escorting it towards Italy. Many feared that the issue could end with the refoulement of the migrants and asylum seekers to Libya, where, as a report from Human Rights Watch recently described, they have been mistreated and abused in the detention centers in Tripoli, Kufra, Jawazat and many other places on the Northwestern Libyan coast.

The migrants and asylum seekers, Somali and Eritreans, are at the moment being held in first help centers in Pozzallo, Ragusa. One of them, a 25-year-old Somali, died during the cross. Medical authorities are trying to establish the cause of his death.   


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