Some migrants stopped by Italian Carabinieri police after disembarking in southern Sardinia | Photo: ANSA/CARABINIERI
Some migrants stopped by Italian Carabinieri police after disembarking in southern Sardinia | Photo: ANSA/CARABINIERI
Some migrants stopped by Italian Carabinieri police after disembarking in southern Sardinia | Photo: ANSA/CARABINIERI Some migrants stopped by Italian Carabinieri police after disembarking in southern Sardinia | Photo: ANSA/CARABINIERI

The number of autonomous or so-called "phantom" migrant landings has gone up this year, according to Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese. Meanwhile, the number of sea arrivals and new asylum applicants decreased.

A total of 7,510 phantom landings have taken place in Italy between January 1 and November 4, Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese revealed during a presentation for the Italian Parliament's Schengen Commission. Lamorgese said that in 2018, there were only 6,000 autonomous landings throughout the entire year. 

What are phantom landings? It's landings where migrant boats land on the Italian shore autonomously - without the help of a rescue vessel - and are discovered only after they have arrived. 

Lamorgese said the upward trend in phantom landings began in April 2019, with a peak in September and October. 

Phantom landings up, sea arrivals down

While phantom landings increased in 2019, overall migrant sea arrivals decreased. Lamorgese said 9,944 migrants arrived on Italian shores between the start of the year and November 7. That's 55% less than during the same period last year.

Interior ministry figures as of October 31 showed that a total of 3,491 migrants departed from Tunisia, 2,826 from Libya, 2,431 from Turkey and Greece, and 872 from Algeria in 2019. Meanwhile, disembarkations happened on the coasts of Sicily, Calabria, and Sardinia. 

Fewer asylum applications

Lamorgese said in the first 10 months of 2019, a total of 30,468 asylum applications were filed in Italy. That's 35% less than in 2018. 

"The commissions have examined 81,162 applications, granting protection in 18% of cases, while denials were 66%," she said. "Humanitarian protection, due to the effect of modifications to the decree last year, was given to 1% of applications reviewed. There are 42,000 pending applications, 61% less than in 2018."  

5,825 repatriations in 2019 so far

Lamorgese said that since the beginning of the year through October 31, a total of 5,825 migrants have been repatriated from Italy, 1,289 of them since September 5. 

This number is slightly higher than for the same period in 2018, when there were 5,395 repatriations. 

The interior minister said that to have an "efficient and credible migratory policy" there must be "fast repatriations of those who do not have the right to remain in Europe." 
 

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