“Boat Lift” in the Med

Defensenews reports the Italian Coast Guard seems to be contending with their own version of a “boat lift” as refugees from the chaotic and poverty ridden areas of Africa and the Middle East attempt to make it to more prosperous areas.

Typical Migrant Interdiction Operation (MIO)–unsavory operators, overloaded unseaworthy vessels equal mass drownings.

90 thoughts on ““Boat Lift” in the Med

  1. German Blog reports without attribution:
    “ITALY The Italian navy rescued 110 mostly African (Ghana, Mali, Togo, Gambia) migrants from an overloaded inflatable dinghy in trouble off Lampedusa … one person found dead.”

    110 people on an inflatable dingy? Now that is desperation.

  2. Pingback: Migrant Interdiction, Australian Style | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

  3. Apparently the Icelandic CG is helping. http://gcaptain.com/icelands-coast-guard-takes-control-another-migrant-ship-italy/

    It is apparently not clear what type of ship this is, but a livestock carrier makes more sense as a Migrant transport than a tanker. The Icelandic Coast Guard ship involved, the Tyr (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICGV_T%C3%BDr) is small but robust, ice strengthened, only a little larger than a 210, she was commissioned in 1975, and survived being rammed twice by British frigates during the “Cod Wars” between Iceland and Britain. She has a only a very small crew and can operate a Dauphin helicopter.

    • That’s terrible.

      It’s an example of modern Europe at it’s worst. Unable to take action due to Byzantine politics and apathy.

  4. Two reports from the German Navy blog “marineforum.info”:

    13 Feb.
    •Two commercial ships and an Italian coastguard vessel rescued about 700 migrants from overcrowded boats near the Libyan coast.
    (rmks: an area not covered by EU Frontex operation “Triton”)
    •UNHCR says at least 218,000 migrants crossed the Mediterranean by boat last year and 3,500 lives were lost

    15 Feb.
    •+++ Some 100 nm south of Lampedusa (50 nm off Libya) the Italian coast guard spots 12 migrant boats … a total of nearly 2,200 people rescued … short stand-off with human traffickers who managed to escape
    •+++ UNHCR criticizing EU which in its operation “Triton” merely patrols sea borders instead of rescuing people in distress.

  5. Italy is now calling for NATO involvement as apparently the EU isn’t interest in doing anything. Would not be surprised to see the USCG become involved in this.

    • The only way I could see that happening is if we sent one or more of the 110s into the Med, but this has been going on for a very long time, with no end in sight. No reason USN in the Med could not participate. They might ask for CG LEDET to help if they do.

      • I think Italy is requesting NATO help on the Med policing largely to get a small amount of US participation, with the goal being to shame the EU into greater participation. Isn’t the USS Mount Whitney based in Tripoli? I could see that being deployed, with possibly some USCG LEDET on board.

        Obviously the situation is fluid, the beheading of Christians in Libya has escalated the situation.

      • There are other assets in the Med. Mount Whitney is a flag ship, with a part civilian crew. Don’t think they would use her, but while it is not like the days of the 6th Fleet, there are USN vessels operating in the Med, or transiting through it on the way to the Indian Ocean.

  6. In connection to the issue, Ireland and Malta have just agreed that Ireland will gift the decommissioned LE Aoife to the Maltese. and will provide training for the crew in Cobh. Aoife will be the largest ship in the Maltese squadron, like her sisters she’s had work done to repair hull fatigue issues, and the Med’s going to be more forgiving than the West Coast (though they are going to have to find secondary weapons as they’ve already been transferred). She’s free, cheap enough to run (at least for the next 5 years or so), with a small crew, and if she works out Aisling is going to be free next year (and LE. Emer seems to have been “taken” by the Nigerian Navy) hopefully this can help a small bit.

      • There’s a bit of debate on the Irish forums about this, the examiner article seems based on just Maltese comments on a blog rather than direct attributable statements. Like the bit about there not being a stern launch for a RIB, no there isn’t, there are two side mounted launch positions and a third stern one that’s lifted off by the aft crane (which means she carries more RIB’s than any other Maltese ship), think if the comment came from the Maltese navy they might have noticed that point.

        If they don’t want her we can always flog her for €200-€300K, her sister Emer just got commissioned into the Nigerian Navy as a training ship.

  7. Seems that it was just some talking heads on both sides stirring crap regarding the transfer of Aoife to the Maltese:[QUOTE]
    A Maltese naval crew will arrive in Haulbowline in the next few weeks to be trained to operate the LÉ Aoife, which was gifted to Malta amid some controversy.

    Defence Minister Simon Coveney said the Maltese government still wanted the 36-year-old vessel, despite some comments by retired navy personnel on that Mediterranean island she was too old and not fit for the purpose she was intended for — to rescue migrants fleeing north Africa.

    Mr Coveney said that he expected the Maltese crew to be trained up over a three to four-week period and ready to return with the ship by mid-May.

    He said that some Irish naval personnel were likely to sail with the ship to Malta and he was even considering going over for its arrival. “We also have spares [parts] for the ship and we will give them to them,” he said.

    He said his Maltese counterpart, Carmelo Abela, had immediately contacted him after adverse comments were made on that country’s media about the LÉ Aoife.

    “He was very embarrassed about that and said he was delighted to take her. It’s a positive story from their perspective. They’re planning to buy a new ship but won’t receive it for around five years, so they need the LÉ Aoife to fill in. It’s not at the end of its life and is very well maintained.”

    He said he could understand why some Irish groups might have liked the opportunity to acquire the vessel, but felt it could play a role in humanitarian work[/QUOTE]

  8. After the last weeks losses, Ireland will deploy one of our ships for rescue operations it’s been announced, and the Maltese seem happy with LE Aoife (seems they like the level of tech on board) she’s going into the graving dock to have her hull inspected, all going well they should have her by mid summer.

  9. A suggestion that inert precision guided munitions be used to destroy smugglers boats in Libya before they are loaded with immigrants. This looks like an indication of desperation. It is really stupid. High cost of ammunition. Damage relatively simple to repair well enough to put them at sea again. http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/policy-budget/warfare/2015/05/02/europe-weighs-bombing-migrant-boats/26639047/

    Europe might as well set up offices in Libya and sell access at prices that undercut the gangs. At least that way the migrants would be safe and Europe would get the money now going to gangs.

    • Yeah Eithne has been getting ready for the last couple of weeks, it’ll be a good operation for the navy, sadly it means that the planned tour on the anti piracy operation has been shelved.

  10. From the reports today, the Minister for Defence sees Ireland’s commitment lasting till at least September, with Eithne being deployed for 2 months and then replaced by one of the other ships.

  11. Looks like some thing similar may be happening in SE Asia. From the German Navy Blog “Marine Forum, “SOUTHEAST ASIA (Migration) Thailand and Malaysia will hold talks on how to stem the surge of migrants (mostly Rohyngia Muslims from Myanmar) landing on their shores … about 7,000 people still adrift in the Bay of Bengal, abandoned by smugglers following a crackdown by Thailand … UNHCR foresees „humanitarian emergency happening “.”

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