The trial on the 2013 “Left-to-die Boat” starts amid one of the deadliest incidents for people trying to reach Europe this year. At the same time 121 people, rescued by NGOs, disembarked in Italian ports.
At least 62 people died when a boat carrying up to 180 people capsized off the coast of Mauretania on its way towards the Canary Islands, Spain. The vessel had left from The Gambia on Wednesday, November 27 and approached the Mauritanian coast when it overturned. 83 managed to swim to shore and authorities are searching for those missing. Mauritania announced an investigation into those responsible.
Six years after 250 people died in a shipwreck, the case, which has come to be known as the “Left-to-die Boat” will be examined before a criminal court in Rome. Several officers of the Italian coastguard, the navy, and politicians stand accused of deliberately delaying the rescue operation. Also, an Italian navy vessel had been in the vicinity but failed to intervene. Several of the survivors, who lost family members, have joined the legal action.
On Wednesday morning, the rescue vessels Ocean Viking, run by the NGOs SOS Mediterranee and Doctors without Borders (MSF), and the Alan Kurdi, run by the NGOs Sea-Eye, disembarked 121 people at the Sicilian ports of Messina and Pozzallo. The permission came around five days after the NGOs had rescued the people from the Mediterranean off the coast of Libya. According to Italian authorities the European Commission is in charge of redistributing those rescued and Germany and France agreed to accommodate some of them.
The German merchant vessel “OOC Panther” returned 30 people they rescued off the coast off Libya to the Libyan coastguard. Some of them jumped over board and threatened to set themselves on fire if they were taken back to Libya, according to crew members of the Ocean Viking, who came to assist the merchant vessel but were not authorised to transfer those rescued to their ship.
The number of recorded deaths of people trying to reach Europe via the Mediterranean increased to 1,235.
For further information:
- ECRE, Med: Mounting Death Toll while NGOs Struggle to Keep up with Rescues, November 2019
- ECRE, Med: NGOs Defying “Complete Disregard for Potential Loss of life”, November 2019
- ECRE, Med: At Least Nine People Dead after Shipwreck off Lanzarote, November 2019
- ECRE, Med: Armed Intervention against Rescue Ship and Pull-Back to Libya, October 2019
- ECRE, Med: Alarming Numbers of Interceptions, October 2019
- ECRE, Med: More than 20 Feared Dead after Shipwreck off Lampedusa, October 2019
- ECRE, Med: At 6th Anniversary of Lampedusa Shipwreck Death Toll Reaches 1000, October 2019
- ECRE, Operation Sophia: Ships Remain Suspended while Support of Libyan ‘Coast Guard’ Continues, September 2019
- ECRE, Mediterranean: Over 400 Rescued while Deaths Continue, September 2019, September 2019
- ECRE, Stand-offs Continue at the Mediterranean Despite New Government in Italy, September 2019
- ECRE, MED: Silver Lining Looms on the Horizon while NGOs Endure Salvini’s ‘Final Blow’, September 2019
- ECRE, Deaths and Standoffs on the Med Reinforce Calls for State-led SAR, August 2019
- ECRE, Mediterranean: Deaths, Rescues and Political Manoeuvres Continue, June 2019
- ECRE, UN Agencies Raise Alarm over Libya on Land and Sea, June 2019
- ECRE, Interception and Return of 170 Refugees to Libya, May 2019
- ECRE, From Bad to Worse for Migrants Trapped in Detention in Libya, May 2019
- ECRE, Last Breath of Operation Sophia Should Push Coalition of the Willing, March 2019
- ECRE, A Contingency Plan for Disembarkation and Relocation, January 2019
Photo: (CC) Olivier ROUX, August 2007