Italy in Talks with EU to Share Responsibility for Boat Migrants

Posted by Eric Haun
Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Italy is in talks with other European Union states about sharing the burden of rescuing migrants crossing the Mediterranean in crowded boats from North Africa, senior officials meeting in Milan said on Tuesday.

So far this year, more than 63,000 migrants have arrived in Italy by sea, according to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), surpassing the previous record of around 62,000 set in the whole of 2011, the year of the "Arab Spring" uprisings.

But more than 500 have died trying to make the perilous sea crossing, including 12 on Sunday when their boat capsized off the coast of the Libyan Tripoli, the UNHCR said on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano repeated a call for Europe's border control agency Frontex to take over Italy's mission, known as Mare Nostrum or "Our Sea" and costing the navy 9 million euros ($12.28 million) a month.

After meeting with EU interior ministers in Milan, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said that she was discussing with Alfano what was needed for a "scaled-down" version of Mare Nostrum.

But she warned that Frontex alone would not be enough and that member states would have to contribute directly, and there was as yet no time frame for a possible EU substitution of Italy.

"Frontex is a small agency and cannot take over Mare Nostrum tomorrow. We will need more assets from the member states and that's why we are asking Italy to sit together with us to try to identify exactly what would be needed," she said.

"Frontex can do a lot, but we do not have the means to totally substitute (Mare Nostrum) unless all other member countries also contribute with vessels or helicopters or staff or money."

Italy's navy has been patrolling the waters between Africa and Sicily since October, when 366 people drowned after their boat capsized just a mile from the Italian island of Lampedusa.

That tragedy focused international attention on the desperate risks taken by many migrants, whose plight has been highlighted by human rights groups and Pope Francis.

Though about two-thirds of those who are rescued move on quickly to other EU countries, member states have so far offered Italy little help with Mare Nostrum, and Frontex has provided only limited air surveillance.

Italy - along with Spain, Greece and Malta - have been left mostly on their own to manage the growing number of migrants who seek to enter the EU in boats departing from North Africa, partly because increasing anti-immigrant sentiment in countries like Britain and France makes it unpopular to help out.

Most of the migrants who reached Italy by sea last year were refugees fleeing Syria's civil war and Eritrea's harsh military service, and the trend has continued this year, according to the UNHCR. Of the 12 confirmed dead on Tuesday, three were Syrian and three Eritrean.

($1 = 0.7331 Euros)

(By Steve Scherer and Ilaria Polleschi; Additional reporting by Isla Binnie in Rome; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Maritime Reporter September 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Navy

Navy to Commission Submarine North Dakota

The Navy will commission its newest attack submarine North Dakota, during a ceremony Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, at Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut.

US Navy CNO: Photo of the Day

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert receives a system update brief in the combat information center aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile

U.S. Navy Contracts 12 Rapid Response Skimmers

Kvichak Marine won a US Navy contract for 12 30-ft.Rapid Response Skimmers (RRS) for delivery over the next 18 months, with options for up to 30 additional skimmers to be delivered through 2019.

News

Decade Old India Shipping Summit Makes History

In ten years, India Shipping Summit held consistently in Mumbai, has sailed on a robust growth course despite the worldwide witnessing recessionary waves buffeting any endeavors to grow and gain.

USCG to Ensure Safety During World Series

The Coast Guard and local agencies are working to ensure the safety of boaters and baseball fans during World Series games at AT&T Park this weekend. The

Areva-Siemens Raises Claim Over Finnish Reactor Delays

The French-German consortium Areva-Siemens , the supplier of Finland's much-delayed Olkiluoto-3 nuclear reactor, has increased its claim against Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima (TVO),

Coast Guard

USCG to Ensure Safety During World Series

The Coast Guard and local agencies are working to ensure the safety of boaters and baseball fans during World Series games at AT&T Park this weekend. The

USCG Monitoring Barge adrift in Beaufort Sea

U.S. Coast Guard personnel and Canadian federal agencies, including the Canadian coast guard, Transport Canada and Environment Canada, are monitoring a 134-foot

EUCAP Nestor Train 30 Somali Coast Guards

On 21 October, the European Union’s Maritime Capacity Building Mission in the Horn of Africa and Western Indian Ocean (EUCAP Nestor) celebrated the successful completion of a two month Mentoring,

Maritime Safety

USCG to Ensure Safety During World Series

The Coast Guard and local agencies are working to ensure the safety of boaters and baseball fans during World Series games at AT&T Park this weekend. The

Navy to Commission Submarine North Dakota

The Navy will commission its newest attack submarine North Dakota, during a ceremony Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, at Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut.

UN: Ship Inspections near Somalia for Arms, Charcoal

The United Nations Security Council authorized the inspection of boats suspected of carrying illegal shipments of charcoal or weapons to and from Somalia on Friday,

Government Update

Navy to Commission Submarine North Dakota

The Navy will commission its newest attack submarine North Dakota, during a ceremony Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014, at Submarine Base New London in Groton, Connecticut.

MARAD Seeks Comments on Proposed Policy for Deepwater Export Applications

The Maritime Administration (MARAD) is seeking comments on the agency’s proposed policy to accept, evaluate and process license applications for the construction

Oil Drillers Group to Fight U.S. Export Ban

More than a dozen U.S. oil producers have joined to lobby the federal government to reverse the 40-year-old ban on U.S. crude exports, a move that supporters hope

 
 
Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pod Propulsion Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2821 sec (4 req/sec)