State TV: four migrants die in fireplace on boat off Italian coast

Rome, August 30

Fire erupted on a migrants’ sailboat off the coast of southern Italy on Sunday, and Italian information stories mentioned a minimum of 4 perished and others have been lacking within the sea, the newest drama within the nation’s battle to cope with tons of of migrants reaching its shores this summer season.

State TV’s RaiNews24 mentioned 4 migrants have been confirmed lifeless, though it wasn’t instantly clear in the event that they have been killed by the fireplace, which was apparently ignited by gasoline aboard, or in the event that they drowned within the sea.

The fireplace, which additionally triggered an explosion, despatched up a column of darkish smoke that may very well be seen by bathers at a seaside close to Crotone, a port city in Calabria within the “toe” of the Italian peninsula.

Several migrants have been injured, as have been two customs police crew members, considered one of whom suffered burns and the opposite a damaged leg, state TV mentioned.

The Italian coast guard was concerned in transferring the migrants from the sailboat when the blaze started, information stories mentioned.

LaPresse information company mentioned about 20 migrants had been aboard the sailboat.                     

While many migrants attempt to attain Italy in unseaworthy boats launched from Libyan shores the place human traffickers are based mostly, this 12 months has seen a lot of the migrants reaching Italy coming from Tunisia or different factors, usually with no need rescue.

Earlier on Sunday, the arrivals of tons of of migrants worsened extreme overcrowding on the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa and triggered protests amongst islanders.

Lampedusa’s mayor vowed to name a protest strike to demand the Italian authorities reduce harmful overcrowding in migrant shelters.

The arrival of 450 migrants crammed right into a rickety fishing boat triggered an offended demonstration Saturday night time by islanders.

On Lampedusa, a migrant heart meant to deal with fewer than 200 is now full of 1,200 individuals after the newest arrivals, together with a number of small boats with migrants that set out apparently from Tunisia.

Lampedusa Mayor Toto’ Martello expressed astonishment {that a} fishing boat carrying 450 migrants managed to reach inside a number of kilometers of the island with out being observed by army vessels or plane, together with the European Frontex mission, which is meant to be preventing human trafficking within the central Mediterranean.

The Italian coast guard escorted the fishing vessel to port Saturday night time, the place Lampedusa residents staged a protest, with some mendacity down, yelling “Enough!” “Last night was a sit-in but I will call a strike” this week, with storekeepers shuttering outlets for a day on the island, which lives off tourism and fishing, Martello mentioned.

The strike is aimed “against a government which doesn’t have a strategy” to cope with migrants, he mentioned.

Per week earlier, citing concern over COVID-19 infections, Sicily’s governor ordered migrant processing facilities on the big Mediterranean island to close down. But the center-left Italian authorities, which is in control of migrant coverage nationwide, went to courtroom and the governor’s order was stayed pending a listening to subsequent month.

With so many migrants on Lampedusa, a Catholic parish stepped in to seek out housing for the newest arrivals.

Also reaching Lampedusa on Saturday have been 49 migrants whom the Italian coast guard took from a dangerously overcrowded rescue boat, the Louise Michel, which took on so many individuals it couldn’t navigate. The Louise Michel’s operation is funded by road artist Banksy, who additionally painted the vessel a brilliant pink, together with a lifesaving buoy within the form of a coronary heart.

The Louise Michel was nonetheless at sea, as have been different non-public rescue boats, interesting for permission from both Italy or Malta to disembark tons of of migrants they collectively have aboard, many who’ve been caught for days or even weeks. AP


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