Alarm for a fishing boat with 500 immigrants near Sicily

Fishing Boat Italy

The emergency on immigration in Italy returns, when the wounds from the sinking of the Turkish ship off the coast of Calabria 13 days ago, with at least 72 victims, have not healed. Some 500 people, including many women and children, are in serious trouble on board an old fishing boat from Libya, off the coast of Sicily. The alarm was launched by a plane belonging to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex).

The helpline for immigrants, Alarm Phone, which has established contact with some of the people on board, has asked the Italian maritime authorities for immediate action because the fishing boat is crowded with people and is leaking. A Coast Guard patrol boat left Pozzallo (Sicily) to carry out the rescue.

On the other hand, some 2,000 immigrants arrived in Lampedusa this Thursday, with 41 boats, mostly rescued by patrol boats from the Coast Guard and the Guardia di Finanzas. A record never before achieved on the island. Two small boats, with 46 and 41 migrants on board, managed to disembark directly. From midnight Thursday to Friday, another 14 landings have been recorded, with around 605 immigrants.

A good part of the people on board these boats come from Tunisia, where there is a serious economic crisis. In that North African country, there are 21,000 sub-Saharan immigrants, mostly irregular, who are now being rejected. Some have been repatriated, but others dream of reaching Italy. Many of the recent immigrants to Lampedusa come from the Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Nigeria.

The Lampedusa reception center is completely overwhelmed. At the moment there are more than 3,000 immigrants, almost ten times its capacity. In the last 24 hours alone, more than 2,500 arrived. They will have to be transferred to other centers in Sicily.