Italian authorities perform health checks on all new arrivals | Photo: ANSA
Italian authorities perform health checks on all new arrivals | Photo: ANSA

Authorities in Italy are concerned over so-called "phantom" migrant landings, which have become a daily occurrence on the coasts of Sicily, Sardinia, and Calabria.

The arrivals, which have intensified this month, are bringing dozens and dozens of migrants to Italian shores. Every day on the Italian coasts of Sicily, Lampedusa, Sardinia, and Calabria, dozens of migrants now arrive without need of rescue and passage from NGO ships. 

The arrivals, referred to as "phantom" landings, take place from small boats that manage to evade detection by authorities. This type of arrival has been responsible for bringing the majority of the 6,342 people to Italian shores this year so far.

The landings have intensified this September due to favorable weather conditions as well as increased instability in Libya and Tunisia, popular departure points.

'Concern' over landings

The Italian Interior Ministry has expressed its concern over the phenomenon. "570 people in Lampedusa in the last two weeks," the police union SAP confirmed on Thursday. On Wednesday morning, a small boat brought around 20 migrants to the island. Just offshore, they were able to independently reach land. Also on Wednesday, a boat docked at the port of Lampedusa with 108 people aboard. 

The island's sole migrant hotspot, which has a capacity of 95, is once again facing a crisis situation as it attempts to accommodate double that number of migrants.

Landings from Tunisia and Libya

The political situation in both countries, from which migrants depart on their journeys across the Mediterranean, is somewhat unstable to varying degrees. In Tunisia, a country with which Italy has a repatriation agreement, the first round of presidential elections took place on Sunday. Once the new leadership is elected, Italy is expected to demand greater cooperation from the Tunisian government to help curb migrant crossings.

In Libya, the civil war between forces of the national unity government led by Fayez al-Sarraj and those of General Khalifa Haftar also creates problems in the attempt to block migrant flows. The topic was discussed on Wednesday at Palazzo Chigi, the residence of Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte, where Conte received a visit by Sarraj.


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