From file: Migrants at the Barone military barracks on the island of Pantelleria, Sicily | Photo: Lannino-Gabriele / ANSA
From file: Migrants at the Barone military barracks on the island of Pantelleria, Sicily | Photo: Lannino-Gabriele / ANSA

A new shelter, destined to house migrants who arrive autonomously from Tunisia, is now open on the Sicilian island of Pantelleria. The facility will also be coordinating the transfer of the migrants to other parts of Italy.

The Prefect of Trapani, Filippina Cocuzza, inaugurated the new shelter on Tuesday, August 2, placing it under the responsibility of Pantelleria's Mayor Vincenzo Campo.

The island authorities finished the work needed to open the temporary shelter comprising housing modules donated by EUAA (the European Agency for Asylum, the former European Asylum Support Office).

The housing modules are next to the Barone military barracks which has been hosting migrants up until this point. The new facility, funded by Italy's Interior Ministry, intends to "improve the quality of shelter for migrants," as well as providing the police with more efficient ways of managing those who are hosted in the center.

Improved security services

The new shelter will be equipped with the technology for members of the Forensic Police department and DIGOS (General Investigations and Special Operations Division --known as DIGOS) to carry out photo-identification of arrivals. This, said the Ministry of the Interior press release, should allow for a more rapid transfer of people off the island.

General security services will also be increased by law enforcement. While the necessary IT services and networks are put in place to conduct identification procedures, the photo-identification procedures will continue to take place in Trapani, after migrants are transferred from the island.

Departure of two boats from Tunisia to Italy thwarted

Between the night of July 31 and August 1, the Tunisian Coast Guard intercepted and blocked two ships that were crossing the "maritime borders" and headed toward Italy.

The Coast Guard also rescued nine people at sea who were on boats that were in danger. A spokesperson for the Italian National Guard communicated this on his Facebook page, adding that the rescued migrants were taken in and registered.

Tunisian patrol boats also rescued 64 migrants of different nationalities who were on a boat found off the coast of the islands of Kerkennah, Tunisia.

The Tunisian customs office communicated this, adding that in compliance with the will of the public prosecutor, the services of the governorship of Mahdia and of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Tunisian authorities would guarantee the rescued migrants shelter, "until the completion of the procedures for their assisted voluntary repatriation" to their countries of origin.


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