'A ship carrying about 250 people has capsized off the coast of Sicily, Italian news agency ANSA reported Friday.Very sad indeed but I'm intrigued by the use of the word 'migrants'. Were these 'migrants' on their way to Italy as invited by the Italian government? Were they hoping to land in Italy and claim asylum or just disappear into the Italian countryside before moving onto the rest of Europe to claim benefits?
The ship is believed to have been carrying migrants.
Authorities responded to a mayday from the ship, which was about 60 miles offshore, Maj. Leonardo Ricci told CNN.
Earlier this week, another boat carrying more than 500 African migrants sank off the coast of Lampedusa'
This Wikipedia article on the Lampedusa immigrant reception center may be of interst to all except the BBC, CNN and other lefty media.
Since the early 2000s, Lampedusa has become a prime transit point for illegal immigrants from Africa, the Middle East and Asia wanting to enter Europe. In 2004, the Libyan and Italian governments reached a secret agreement that obliged Libya to accept those deported from Italian territories. This resulted in the mass return of many people from Lampedusa to Libya between 2004 and 2005 without the endorsement of European Parliament.
By 2006 many immigrants were paying people smugglers in Libya to help get them to Lampedusa by boat. On arrival, most were then transferred by the Italian government to reception centres in mainland Italy. Many were then released because their deportation orders were not enforced.
In 2009, the overcrowded conditions at the island's temporary immigrant reception centre came under criticism by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The unit, which was originally built for a maximum capacity of 850 people, was reported to be housing nearly 2,000 boat people. A significant number of people were sleeping outdoors under plastic sheeting. A fire started during an inmate riot destroyed a large portion of the holding facility on 19 February 2009. Most of the immigrants were from Ghana, Mali and Nigeria and were working illegally as seasonal farm workers.
In 2011 many more immigrants came to Lampedusa during the rebellions in Tunisia and Libya. By May 2011, more than 35,000 immigrants had arrived on the island from Tunisia and Libya. By the end of August, 48,000 had arrived. Most were young males in their 20s and 30s. The situation has caused division within the EU, the French government regarding most of the arrivals as economic migrants rather than refugees in fear of persecution. The Libyan ambassador to Italy stated that Gaddafi controlled illegal immigration to meet his goals- "he wanted to turn Lampedusa black with Africans".