Tags: ship | capsizes | italy

Ship Capsizes: Italy Coast Site of Another Migrant Disaster; 27 Dead

Friday, 11 Oct 2013 05:30 PM

By Robin Farmer

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Another ship that capsized off the coast of Italy on Friday killed at least 27 migrants and more than 200 others were rescued. The boat headed to Europe went under in the Mediterranean Sea between Malta and the Italian Island of Lampedusa.

Among the deaths are three children, The Associated Press reported. The search continues for shipwreck victims and survivors.

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The accident occurs eight days after a crowded migrant boat carrying 500 Africans capsized near Lampedusa and at least 339 people died. That accident started when the engine failed and someone set fire to a blanket, hoping to garner attention from the shore, the New York Times reported. The flames ignited gasoline from the engine. When people fled the flames, the boat toppled. Many of the migrants who spilled into the sea could not swim.

The Lampedusa accident has refocused attention on and criticism of Europe’s immigration policies, the New York Times reported. Tens of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers pay large sums of money to smugglers in Egypt and Libya and risk their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean and reach Europe.

Earlier this week José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, visited Lampedusa, the epicenter of the migration crisis on the Mediterranean, the newspaper reported. Barroso spoke about cooperation among member states and pledged an additional 30 million euros, or $40.5 million, to help Italy deal with the influx of refugees.

Critics say Europe must do more to create a migration and asylum policy for people from poorer countries.

“We can’t let people die at sea,” Giusi Nicolini, the Lampedusa mayor, told Italian television channel La7, according to the Times. “There cannot be a dam in the Mediterranean. And Lampedusa is too tiny to be Europe’s frontier.”

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