Frontex experts who spotted it from the air had a good idea. And sure enough, after a few hours a steady stream of people emerged from below the deck of the fishing trawler and got onto the smaller boat.
When 80 people squeezed onto it, the fishing trawler quickly pulled away. The migrant ship then started to slowly head toward the Italian island of Lampedusa.This was clearly a case of a “mother boat” used by criminals to carry a large group of migrants across the sea towards their destination before unloading them onto a smaller boat.A Frontex plane and drone kept observing the fishing trawler and the boat with migrants over several hours, alerting Italian and Maltese authorities, as well as EUNAVFOR Med.
The Italian National Coordination Centre initiated a complex operation that involved Italian Guardia di Finanza and Guardia Costiera. They caught up with the bigger vessel and arrested the suspected people smugglers. The migrant boat was intercepted in the Italian waters.The Italian authorities are investigating the case.