Boat with migrants photographed from a finance police helicopter about seven miles off Lampedusa on February 19, 2021 | Photo: Carmelo Sucameli/ANSA
Boat with migrants photographed from a finance police helicopter about seven miles off Lampedusa on February 19, 2021 | Photo: Carmelo Sucameli/ANSA

The mayor of the Lampedusa has said he is concerned over the "increasingly active" Libyan route to Italy. Migrant arrivals on the island continued on Saturday, Sunday and Monday with more than 400 people landing on the Italian island.

"Here on Lampedusa, we are concerned. The Libyan route is increasingly more active and I don't know what will happen when sea conditions become even more favorable for sailing."

The mayor of Lampedusa and Linosa, Totò Martello, on Monday (March 1) expressed his concern over the recent increase in migrant arrivals.

"The government crisis opened and subsequently closed around the recovery plan," he said, referring to the country's recent government crisis and the coronavirus recovery effort. "But there are other emergencies that Italy has the duty to face."

Reception 'under control' -- for now

"All things considered, primary reception management is under control," Martello said -- at least at present.

Martello attributed the current stability in part to quarantine ships provided by the interior ministry as they "took pressure off the migrant hotspot," as he put it. Italy is using several vessels to house or quarantine migrants.

"But in the coming weeks, when the numbers grow, what will happen? If one doesn't intervene on the causes and the origin countries of migration flows, we will continue to go from one emergency to the next," Martello said.

He called on Prime Minister Mario Draghi to "dedicate the maximum attention to the many aspects concerning migration," arguing that "there needs to be political action and planned management," not only in Italy but also in Europe.

Hundreds of arrivals

On the weekend and Monday, 413 migrants arrived on Lampedusa by boat.

Four small boats with a total of 42 Tunisians aboard arrived on the island starting Saturday night through late Sunday morning. Only one of the four boats was spotted before arriving on the island.

Between Sunday night and Monday morning, another 371 boat migrants reached the island. Carabinieri police intercepted a group of 99 people on Sunday night in the southeastern part of the island near the coast.

On Monday at sunrise, the Italian coast guard patrol vessel CP 319 intercepted a boat with 84 people aboard. Shortly after, the finance police intercepted another boat with 83 people from northern Africa.

A different finance police patrol boat escorted a wooden vessel with 105 migrants aboard, including six women and five children, to Lampedusa's main harbor in the southeast of the island.

All of the migrants were taken to the Contrada Imbriacola hotspot, where they were tested for COVID-19. By Monday morning, the facility, which has a capacity of just under 200, was hosting 485 people.

 

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