A ship transporting between 400-500 African migrants to Italy caught fire and capsized off Lampedusa. A lot of the passengers did not have any chance to save their live. So far there were recovered around a 100 bodies. This incident is one of the most tragic events of such kind nowadays. Many African migrants are trying to reach a country in the European Union where they hope for better life.
Rescue operations are taking place. The Pope Francis being informed for the tragedy sent his condolences. The Mayor of Lampedusa quickly went to the location of the incident to be sure that the rescue efforts are at level and he said:
"It's an immense tragedy,"
In the number of the victims there are many children and women. The passengers from the ship are from different countries such as Eritrea, Ghana and Somalia. The number of the dead bodies is constantly increasing according to Antonio Candela, the government's health commissioner for Palermo.
So far 160 people are safe but according to information the ship was transporting about 500 migrants. 260 are still unaccounted.
Fishermen being at the location of the sinking boat rescued a lot of people before the Coast Guard to arrive. Now Coast Guard ships and helicopters are helping the people in the water and continue the search for survivors.
Mayor Nicolini announced an important information about what caused the tragedy, according to his words the ship caught fire because people set off flares so it would be seen by ships nearby. After the fire the the boat transporting migrants capsized into the near Conigli Island.
The tragedy is one of the deadliest in the maritime history shipwrecks nowadays. This incident is second after 3 days ago 13 men perished while trying to reach southern Sicily but their ship run aground near the shore.
The island of Lampedusa is near the African boundaries than the Italian mainland and even being small it is a preferred location for smugglers' vessels. Every day a large number of people are desperately trying to reach a better place to live. The summer is the season that is the most preferable season for traveling when the sea is good for sailing.
What happens when they reach the shore?
The migrants are sent to special centers for migrants but are often caught and sent back to their previous home. Some of the migrants have success and when passing the border go to the northern Europe where they can find big communities of migrants. In Italy for example there is a need of permit or contract for work before arriving in the country.
The statistics is clear, the U.N. refugee agency informs that 8,400 migrants reached Italy and Malta for the first half of the year. This is 2 times more compared to the same period for the last year. After the Arab Spring 2 years ago thousands of migrants "attacked" Italy. Recent days a lot of Syrians are trying to reach the safe coast of Europe.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees informed the number of migrants perished in their way for better life - 40 dead for the first 6 months of the year and 500 for the last year. Fortress Europe, an Italian observatory that tracks migrant deaths announced shocking information of 6,450 migrants that perished in the in the Canal of Sicily between 1994 and 2012.