The Ocean Viking crew rescues 93 people in distress in the Maltese SAR zone, February 12, 2022 | Photo: Clarie Juchat/SOS Mediterranee
The Ocean Viking crew rescues 93 people in distress in the Maltese SAR zone, February 12, 2022 | Photo: Clarie Juchat/SOS Mediterranee

As more migrants land on Italian coasts, an Italian prosecutor's office has opened an inquiry into an incident in which a Libyan boat rammed into a migrant dinghy. Three people are still missing.

Another day saw another tragedy at sea and more landings on Italian coasts of migrants who had departed from North African coasts. Women and children were among those to have disembarked on the island of Lampedusa and the coasts of the southern Italian region of Calabria. There have also been several operations by the Ocean Viking, a migrant rescue ship run by the French NGO SOS Méditerranée.

Three missing after boat rammed into at sea

A dinghy that had been carrying 21 migrants was rammed into in international waters by a Libya fishing boat: five people ended up in the water, with only two managing to get back onto the boat with help from the other passengers. The other three - a Somali woman and two men from Ivory Coast - are still missing.

The Agrigento prosecutor's office has opened an inquiry for manslaughter as well as aiding and abetting clandestine migration in relation to the case. The 18 survivors were rescued and disembarked on Lampedusa by a Coast Guard patrol boat that had been returning from another rescue operation. They are from four countries - Ivory Coast, Guinea Conakry, Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone.

The survivors told the police that they had weighed anchor on Friday evening from Aboukammash in Libya. They said that the ramming did not seem to have been intentional.

Many migrants arrive on Italian island and southern coasts

Prior to the arrival of the survivors of the ramming incident, the Coast Guard had rescued 62 migrants onboard a 12-meter-long boat that had left Libya the previous night. All are Egyptians and one is a minor.

In recent days, Lampedusa has seen an intensification of migrant arrivals: seven boats on Saturday and five on Friday, carrying a total of almost 600 people.

Over a hundred rescued amid rough seas

Some 122 migrants, mostly Syrian and Afghan nationals were rescued dozens of miles off Riace in the Reggio Calabria area of southern Italy by Financial Police vessels. They had been onboard a motorised patrol boat of about 20 meters but the engine had experienced problems and the boat was drifting amid rough seas. There were about a dozen children and unaccompanied minors among them.

Several hours were needed before a Financial Police motor boat managed to get them to land, where they are being housed temporarily in a structure inside the port run by Red Cross volunteers and the Civil Protection.


More articles