Alarm Phone reports a new shipwreck of a large boat departing from Libya, causing ten deaths drowned on March 12th morning off the coast of Western Libya. Thirty migrants are still missing. Instead, 17 people are being rescued and are safe for now. Due to heavy seas, the boat was stranded in Libya.
The Alarm Phone, an NGO, created by an extensive network of activists to alert sea rescue, had already indicated the emergency 24 hours before the news started to spread. Last night, again according to Alarm Phone, affirms that the contact with the boat had been "lost" in a situation of "adverse weather conditions" and a "dangerous situation". Several NGOs were involved in reporting the shipwreck to criticise the lack of prompt intervention by the Italian and Libyan coast guards, even though the authorities had been warned on time. «We are shocked – it is written in an Alarm phone Tweet – from 2.28, on 11 March, migrant boat capsizes in Med. The authorities were informed of the urgency and the dangerous situation. The Italian authorities deliberately delayed the rescue, leaving them to die.
The Italian coastguard responded that it intervened during the disaster even though the shipwreck had occurred outside its area of responsibility. "The rescue intervention took place outside the Italian Sar area of responsibility, recording the inactivity of the other National Maritime Rescue and Coordination Centers concerned by area", is written in a note published yesterday evening.
About survivors, the worries from Alarm Phone are that they will now be reconducted in Libya or Tunisia, countries that present inhumane conditions. Hence the appeal was launched so that they could arrive in a safe place in Europe, according to a tweet published on the official account of the alert service.
The boat had departed from eastern Libya probably in the night between Friday and Saturday. The first alarm signal was sounded around 2.30 on Saturday, Italian time. Around 10.30, the SeaBird aircraft of the NGO SeaWatch sighted the boat, which was adrift at the mercy of the heavy sea about a hundred miles from the coast in the rescue area of Libyan responsibility. In the video of the plane, some merchantmen are seen trying to protect the boat from the waves, but they do not seem able to provide other relief.
The search operations for the missing migrants continue with the help of the merchant ships in the area, with two more merchant ships reaching the search area and with the overflight of two Frontex aircraft assets. The rescue intervention occurred outside the Italian Sar area of responsibility, recording the inactivity of the other National Maritime Rescue and Coordination Centers involved by the site.
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