Carabinieri block a boat carrying migrants at the entrance to Lampedusa port. | Photo: ANSA/ELIO DESIDERIO
Carabinieri block a boat carrying migrants at the entrance to Lampedusa port. | Photo: ANSA/ELIO DESIDERIO

Within only a few hours of each other, two boats carrying migrants have landed on Lampedusa. The first was carrying 16 and the second 23 people. ''As you can see, the port is open,'' said Lampedusa mayor Salvatore ‘Totò’ Martello.

Two boats carrying migrants landed within only a few hours of each other on the Italian island of Lampedusa. In the night between Monday March 25 and Tuesday March 26 a small boat carrying 23 migrants including seven women and three children landed directly on the island, allegedly after being put out to sea by a 'mother ship'. Shortly before, on Monday afternoon, 16 migrants including a child and three women had also landed at the port in a fiberglass vessel in front of the Coast Guard. This first group were also believed to have come from a 'mother ship.'


The 'mother ship' theory

The 23 people from the second ship were intercepted when they had almost arrived on land. The boat was made of fiberglass with a small outboard motor, very similar to the one used by the 16 who arrived on Monday afternoon after being stopped by a Carabinieri motorboat a few hundred meters from the entrance to the port of the island. The two boats, security forces say, could not have crossed the sea from the North African coast. Thus, it is presumed that there is a larger ship which had left the migrants on smaller ones as they neared Lampedusa. 

'Port is open, as you can see' says mayor 

''As you can see, the port is open,'' Lampedusa mayor Totò Martello said whilst speaking about the first landing. He then referred to last week's Mare Ionio case when the Italian financed rescue ship was stopped a few hundred meters from the island before finally being authorized to disembark the 49 migrants it had rescued. Martello, who has previously said that he feels left alone by the rest of Italy to deal with the migrants who land on his island, asked the reporters gathered a rhetorical question: "In this case no one stopped the boat. Why? It's simple," he answered: "There is no monitoring. Landings are frequent on Lampedusa.'' 
 

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