Quiet sea causes a surge in departures: Over 1,200 arrivals in Lampedusa within 24 hours

Improved weather conditions and calm seas have allowed fleets of tiny boats, loaded with migrants, to set sail again from Tunisia and Libya towards the Italian coast. Thirty-two landings, with a total of 1,275 people, have been recorded on Lampedusa since midnight. Four Tunisians arrived directly at the commercial pier and were stopped by the police; another 16 were found at dawn in Via Roma, in front of the Carabinieri barracks: they reported being transferred to the coast from a Libyan fishing boat which then set sail again. Yesterday, there were 14 landings on Lampedusa – four of them at Cala Palme, Cala Croce, Cala Galera, and Molo Madonnina – with a total of 436 people. The arrivals claimed to be from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Senegal, Liberia, Benin, Syria, and Gambia. Most said they had departed from Kerkenna, Sfax, Gabes, and Tebulba in Tunisia. Only a couple of groups mentioned Zuwara, in Libya. All were taken to the hotspot, where there were 1,458 guests at 7 am and 1,829 at 5 pm, despite the morning transfer of 400 with the regular ferry to Porto Empedocle. The Agrigento Prefecture and the police have tried in the past few days to lighten the presence because they were aware that with the improvement of the sea conditions, the crossings would resume. Today, 600 people left the island on regular ferries between morning and evening. Yesterday, 1,100 people were transferred. “We are tired of hearing and reading about Lampedusa’s collapsing hotspot. Thanks to the commitment of the police headquarters and the prefecture, the hotspot is not suffering. It is full, but orderly. The Red Cross manages the situation, while the police carry out identifications and photo reports at a high pace and in an orderly manner, dealing with over a thousand arrivals per day,” said the Agrigento Police Headquarters. The police’s identification pace, which has set records compared to the past, allows the transfer of about a thousand people per day, thanks to full coordination with the Prefecture. Meanwhile, the 4 survivors – 3 men and a woman, originally from Ivory Coast and Guinea – from the boat that sank off the coast of Tunisia, with 41 victims, have been interviewed again. “We managed to survive because in the drifting boat we found there were 4 bottles of water and half a box of biscuits,” they told the mobile squad policemen. “When we fell into the water, we scattered into several groups. We were about ten people close to each other – they explained, clarifying some discrepancies and initial contradictory testimonies – and we were holding onto inner tubes. We remained in the water for many hours. We saw two people drown, overwhelmed by a wave. When we saw an iron boat in the distance, we started swimming. It wasn’t easy, the sea was rough. Some were left behind and we never saw them again, the four of us managed to reach the boat and climb aboard.”

Il mare calmo fa impennare le partenze: in 24 ore oltre 1.200 arrivi a Lampedusa

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