“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. From the German Navy blog Maritime Forum for 29 May:

    Mediterranean: Libya’s (recognized) government „will repel any military action from EU“ to stop people smugglers.
    •Mediterranean: Italian Coast Guard coordinated rescue of about 4,200 migrants (rmks: largest number ever in one day) crossing the Mediterranean …distress calls made from 22 different boats, most near Libya but also some off southern Italy … at least 17 bodies recovered … non-Italian ships involved included British dock landing ship BULWARK (747 people), German Navy frigate HESSEN (880 people), Irish Navy OPV EITHNE (300 people), and Belgium Navy vessel GODETIA.
    •Southeast Asia: Myanmar’s navy found 727 people crammed on a fishing boat … towed the boat to an island where the mostly Bangladeshi refugees were interned … authorities denied media access, even temporarily detained some journalists.
    •Caribbean: US Coast Guard off South Florida finds a rickety boat carrying 13 Cuban migrants … since Oct, 2014, has , the U.S. Coast Guard has intercepted at sea 2,484 Cubans, 1,927 Haitians and 438 Dominicans.

    And a 31 May entry: “Mediterranean: Swedish Coast Guard ship POSEIDON has arrived in the Mediterranean to support EU Frontex in operation „Triton“.”

    • They don’t want to be seen as racist, they don’t want to be seen to be enablers, and they don’t want to be seen breaking “international law” whatever that is actually. Even thought the Italians are breaking EU laws. The Spanish regularly return IIs back to Morocco through gates in their north African colonies’ fences. To be honest here in the UK many of us are waiting to hear of a truck driver or family returning from holiday being killed. It can only be a matter of time.

  2. The Maltese have formally taken over the former LE Aoife and reportedly will sail for Malta this week. Meanwhile Eithne has been hard at work with over 2000 picked up in total, the Navy has admitted that they are surprised that she’s been able to support up to 500 for short periods, but the Italians are suggesting that the ports were they were being offloaded might be moved further north.

  3. Reports that this will eb another bad day, LE Niamh was tasked with intercepting a fishing boat with up to 600 on board that was in difficulty (600 on a 20m boat). When they arrived even though they followed standard procedure in deploying two Rhibs, the fishing boat capsized, 350 have been picked up so far, 25 confirmed dead and the boat has sunk with unknown numbers at this time.

    Niamh hasn’t been very lucky, Eithne got through their entire deployment without any deaths Niamh has already had over a dozen in one operation. Roisin will certainly be going down to replace her soon enough.

  4. From the German Navy blog Marine Forum,
    26 August. “Italian Coast Guard off Libya coordinates rescue of another more than 3,000 people within 48 hrs … Swedish Coast Guard ship POSEIDON (EU Frontex operation „Triton“) picks up 340 people from an overloaded boat … finds 51 migrants dead in its hold (prob, suffocated).”

  5. In related news to this, following a vote in the Daíl the Irish Navy is moving from Operation Pontus to Operation Sophia (so from bilateral with Italy to the Euro med group). most of the NGO’s disprove and the UK House of Lords just released a report slamming the effectiveness of Sophia.

  6. This from the German Navy blog “Marine Forum” http://marineforum.info/Daily_News/daily_news.html
    12 July
    Italy has prepared the draft of a code of conduct for NGO migrant boats to be reviewed by European offices … outlines 11 rules for NGOs, including “absolute prohibition” of humanitarian ships entering Libyan waters, a ban on phoning to facilitate the departure of boats carrying migrants, the obligation to allow police officers aboard, and the requirement of a technical certification to carry out rescues … NGOs refusing to sign the code may not be authorised to access Italian ports any longer

    European far-right activists group “Defend Europe“ has hired a 40-metre vessel to patrol Libya’s coast and „disrupt the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean Sea“

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