A new tragedy in the Sicilian Channel, after the one that was described in the media as “the massacre of women.” About 20 miles off the Libyan coast, were recovered 17 corpses that were found on a wooden barge full of migrants. The victims – all men, one of whom was a minor – are to be added to the 22 dead recovered last night, still in the Strait of Sicily, a few miles away, by the crew of the Aquarius ship of Sos Mediterranee.
The macabre discovery was made by the crew of James Joyce Irish naval vessel: after rescuing 452 refugees who were on the cart of the sea, following the recommendations of the migrants themselves, the military men have inspected the vessel and found the 17 victims crammed in the barge hold. The cause of death – according to preliminary information – may have been asphyxia caused by the exhaust gases of the barge’s motor.
Last day, 1,128 migrants were rescued in the Strait of Sicily, following 8 diifferent relief operations, all coordinated by the Coast Guard. Besides the barge with the dead bodies in its hold, migrants were transported on five other dinghy boats and two small vessels. The Navy Ship Grecale, which has joinned the operation “Safe Sea”, the Eunavformed’s ship “Enterprise”, the Irish naval vessel “James Joyce”, and the ship “Sea Watch 2” of the homonymous Non-Governmental Organization have intervened in the operations.
Meanwhile, the Doctors without Borders ship “Bourbon Argos” arrived to Pozzallo, transporting 628 migrants who had been rescued yesterday in the Sicilian Channel, where they had bene found in a difficult situation on their dinghy boats. The reception mechanism and agents of the Joint Group are ready to proceed with the identification of at least 300 migrants and their transfer to other facilities. They are also ready for the identification of the alleged smugglers.
Commenting on the 21 dead men and women found on a dinghy boat, DWB head of the search and rescue mission, Jens Pagotto said that “when our team approached the first boat, we saw the dead bodies in a pool of fuel in the hold of the boat. The survivors have spent several hours on board with the corpses. Many of them are too traumatized to tell what has happened there. It is not clear yet how these women have died.”