02 December 2008

November 2008

ROME, 08 December 2008 – At least 41 migrants have lost their lives at Europe’s borders in the month of November. Eight people drowned in the Channel of Sicily, three of whom were the victims of a “ghost shipwreck” that occured in the high seas off Malta between the end of October and the start of November. Elsewhere, four people died in the Canary islands, after having been admitted in a hospital in critical health conditions due to journeys whose length is ever-increasing. In one case, the pirogue had set off from as far as Guinea Conakry, to the south of Senegal, for a crossing that lasted 12 days. There were two further victims in Greece, while a shipwreck in the high seas off the French island of Mayotte in the Indian Ocean, caused 21 deaths. In the Algerian desert of Tanezrouft, the remains of six migrants were found.

The bulletin could have even been considerably worse. Possibly disastrous. On the past 27 November, in fact, the fishing boats Ariete, Monastir, Ghibli, Twenty Two and Giulia P.G of Mazara del Vallo (Trapani) saved the lives of 650 migrants on board two ships that were stuck at sea in a storm in the high seas off Lampedusa. The meteorological conditions were so prohibitive that they did not allow the coastguards’ speedboats to cast off their moorings in Lampedusa. Only the large engine-powered fishing boats of Mazara del Vallo were capable of facing the storm. And they did so, answering affirmatively to the request from the port authority. A noble and heroic act that reiterates the priority of sea rescues, two months away from the final hearing of the trial faced by Tunisian fishermen, which will be held on February 9 in Agrigento.”

This month’s Fortress Europe report deals with Misratah detention centre in Libya, which Fortress Europe visited, learning about the experience of 600 Erithreans who have been detained therein for two years