A boat with 70 migrants, which had left Libya on Friday morning, was escorted by Italian Coast Guard patrol boats to the port of Lampedusa where she docked at about three o’clock in the morning.
The disembarkation of its passengers started immediately after docking. The migrants were of Eritrean, Syrian and Ghanaian origin.
This, already in itself, is news in the era of closed ports, refoulements and armored borders.
La Repubblica reports that this “is even more so considering that the gesture of the Italian Coast Guard was only the final act, the surrender, of a long game of chess played since seven o’clock in the afternoon by the tugboat Sea Jonio – the ship of the Mediterranean project – against the authorities, first Maltese, and then Italian.”
Il Corriere Della Sera reports “The Jonio ship, involved in the Mediterranean project promoted by non-profit organizations and associations, issued a warning on Friday evening: “The boat is damaged, but Italy and Malta do not want to intervene”.
La Repubblica reports “an alert message was sent by the authorities of Valletta (the MRCC, maritime rescue coordination centre ): The said “a damaged boat with 70 people on board in Maltese waters”. The boat, according to the coordinates placed black on white in the message, was in fact in an area of Maltese jurisdiction but very close to the island of Lampedusa. Virtually at the border. The message gave no other elements. The Mare Ionio was, at that moment, 40 miles away from the boat. It would take at least a good four hours.
After having modified the route, the bridge of the Italian tugboat has thus decided to get in touch with Mrcc Malta for any other information or, at least, to understand the source of that news. The Maltese, however, did not have other useful elements. ANSA reports ‘We have no boats available’, they would have said from Valletta.
And above all they had no means available to get “up there” to see what had happened to the boat. As for the source, it was the Alarmphone: a dedicated service that sorts alarms collected from the various vessels that cross in the Mediterranean.