A motorboat with migrants aboard arrives at the port of Lampedusa. | Photo: ANSA
A motorboat with migrants aboard arrives at the port of Lampedusa. | Photo: ANSA

Lampedusa Mayor Salvatore ‘Totò’ Martello met with European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos in Brussels and told the commissioner that migrant landings on the Sicilian island "haven't ever stopped.”

Lampedusa Mayor Totò Martello travelled to Brussels to meet with European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos, to whom he donated a crucifix made by a local Lampedusa craftsman from the wood of migrant boats. Martello said he told Avramopoulos about the difficulties that Lampedusa is experiencing as a result of the migrant arrivals and said on the Sicilian island "migrant landings have never stopped."

Martello said he requested the meeting with Avramopoulos "because in Italy it's useless to write a letter to the government when no one responds." "It's a topic that in Italy is ignored, while in the EU it is listened to," he said. 

'In Italy they don't want to understand.' 

Martello said Avramopoulos showed interest and openness, while in Italy "they don't want to understand, because if someone talks about reception, open and closed ports, there are immediately threats and intimidations on the part of those who foment hate."

"So therefore you can't talk about it, because someone decided the ports are closed, and that there are repatriations," Martello said. "You can't say that there aren't any landings in Italy if there are landings in Lampedusa," he said. 

Last landing on March 30, included a child 

The last registered landing on the island of Lampedusa was a week ago, on March 30, when a fiberglass boat with two outboard motors brought 11 migrants - 10 adults and a boy - to the Sicilian island. 

The migrants were taken to the Lampedusa reception centre. The boat was sighted just off the island's coasts by a Carabinieri police patrol boat. This recent episode shows that "mini" arrivals are still taking place on the largest of the Pelagie Islands, in a phenomenon which has been dubbed in Italy "phantom arrivals."

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