Friday, September 07, 2012


Two weeks ago I wrote about Neil Armstrong, my memories of that wonderful night of the moon landing and the songs that bring it back to me. Sometimes, from Sicily, the moon seems so near that I feel I could touch it but, as I look out at its clear light, I wonder how many desperate people are on the sea, heading, by that same light, towards the shores of Europe only to be apprehended and turned back or, tragically, to lose their lives in the attempt to reach what they see as a continent of opportunity.

Image: Wikipedia Italia

Last night, as I stood gazing at the moon from the comfort of my flat, it happened again and so far 56 survivors have been found after a 10-metre boat carrying between 136 and 150 migrants capsized - or possibly not, as we shall see - off Lampione in the Isole Pelagie, 12 miles from Lampedusa.  One body has also been found and among the survivors there is one pregnant woman. Survivors say that six children were on board.

The alarm was raised at around 6pm last night via a call by satellite phone from one of the passengers to the Port Authority of Palermo.  The Italian Coastguard immediately despatched crews to the area and they were quickly joined by Finance Police vessels.  As I write, these vessels, along with helicopters and three NATO ships are still searching the area. Some privately owned boats have also joined the search.

Strangely, there is no trace so far of the migrant boat. The Italian authorities say that this could be because it sank quickly or because the people traffickers who arranged the journey had deliberately left their passengers to swim or die near Lampione, then turned the boat around and headed back to Tunisia in it.  Police say that the situation will become clear as the survivors' stories are verified.

Image: Wikipedia Italia

La Sicilia Online is now reporting that eight migrants were found on and near Marettimo Island in the Egadi [Aegadian] Archipelago after their boat capsized early this morning.

I'll be thinking of these poor, frightened souls as I watch the moon over Modica tonight. 


CherryPie said...

That is a tragic story especially if it is found that they were dumped and left to fend for themselves.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Cherie. Yes, indeed it is.


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