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Italy preventing Banksy's rescue boat from saving lives - watching people die and refusing to help

(5 Posts)
GagaJo Sun 26-Mar-23 20:28:20

“We know of dozens of boats in distress right in front of the island at this very moment, yet we are being prevented from assisting. This is unacceptable!” the crew from Louise Michel said in a tweet.

On Sunday at least 29 people from sub-Saharan Africa died while trying to reach Italy after two boats carrying them across the Mediterranean sank off the coast of Tunisia.

Owing to the high number of calls from people in distress, the crew decided to perform another rescue, resulting in a violation of the new protocols introduced by Italy’s far-right government.

“One of the boats capsized, the crew said on Twitter. “And 34 people were recovered from the water at night. A mother and her unconscious baby had to be evacuated, along with another person in a life-threatening condition. An Italian coastguard vessel was also present, but ignored repeated calls for assistance for about 37 minutes before finally supporting, while people were in the water just in front of them.

The incident comes weeks after an overcrowded wooden vessel carrying as many as 200 people fell apart in stormy seas just a few metres from the beach of Cutro, in Calabria. The bodies of at least 90 people have so far been recovered by the authorities, including dozens of children from Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Pakistan and Iraq who were seeking refuge in Europe.

“European authorities are fully aware of people in distress in their SAR zone,” replied the NGO. “Still, they block #LouiseMichel from leaving port and rendering assistance. Several lives were lost in two shipwrecks yesterday. These deaths are not an accident nor a tragedy. They are wanted.”

Grantanow Tue 28-Mar-23 17:33:09

It is my understanding that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea requires nations to require their seafarers to save life at sea (subject to considerations of ship safety, etc.) . It is a long-standing moral obligation felt by mariners.

MaizieD Tue 28-Mar-23 18:20:16

I'm afraid that, judging from comments on asylum seekers threads, there are a few of our posters who are probably pleased about this (apart from the fact that Italy is an EU member and it provides an opportunity for a bit of EU bashing).

It's no surprise that this behaviour is associated with a right wing government. I expect our Suella would like to be able to do the same...

It is an utter tragedy.

choughdancer Tue 28-Mar-23 20:02:18

I think you are probably right MaizieD. Absolutely heart-breaking news, and the lack of humanity in some of those threads makes ne despair.

Luckygirl3 Tue 28-Mar-23 22:12:52

So sad - and very very shocking.