The caskets of some of the victims of the June 30 shipwreck off Lampedusa | Photo: Francesco Terracina / Archive / ANSA
The caskets of some of the victims of the June 30 shipwreck off Lampedusa | Photo: Francesco Terracina / Archive / ANSA

The Catholic charity Caritas has launched an appeal to recover the bodies of nine victims of a shipwreck on June 30 off Lampedusa.

On August 3, the Catholic charity Caritas launched an appeal for the recovery of the bodies of nine victims of a shipwreck reported on June 30 that have remained 90 meters under water, in an area between the Sicilian islands of Lampedusa and Lampione.

Francesco Soddu, the director of Caritas Italiana, said the organization wants to "carry out an operation of mercy" and not wait for the bodies' to be broken down in the sea.

"First of all, we call on the authorities [to take care of this], but if nobody is available, we are willing to finance the recovery of the remains and of the boat [ourselves]. In this case, we are waiting for an authorization, [to do so,]" added Soddu.

Cost of operation?

The Lampedusan doctor and European lawmaker Pietro Bartolo said he is ready to cooperate with the charity to cover the expenses of the operation. No official estimate has been made of the cost of the operation. "It should total about 50,000 euros - I have already raised about half of the sum", he said.

"If State authorities do not act, I will offer to cover the costs of the operation in conjunction with Caritas." Bartolo added that the operation itself should be "carried out by the Navy, with the authorization of the government and prosecutors."

The search for the sunken ship and recovery of the nine bodies was already ordered right after the incident by the chief prosecutor of Agrigento, Luigi Patronaggio. Patronaggio's office has opened an investigation into the shipwreck.

Lampedusa celebrates Maria's birth

Meanwhile the appeal to recover the bodies comes as the island of Lampedusa is still celebrating the birth on Saturday night of Maria.

The baby girl was named after Maria Raimondo, a nurse from Corleone (a small village not far from Palermo), who helped her mother, give birth. Maria's 38-year-old mother, who is from the Ivory Coast, gave birth shortly after reaching the Sicilian island.

"Sometimes life throws men's plans up in the air and makes you give birth where there are no births," said Father Carmelo La Magra, the parish priest of the church of San Gerlando in Lampedusa. "Welcome to the world little Maria, a Lampedusa native by birth after there were none for a long time."

 

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