Monday, November 3, 2014

Italy ignores pleas, ends boat migrant rescue operation

Terra Daily via AFP: Italy on Friday ignored the pleas of aid agencies and confirmed the end of its search and rescue operation "Mare Nostrum", responsible for saving tens of thousands of boat migrants stranded in the Mediterranean.

"From tomorrow a new operation called 'Triton' begins," deputy prime minister and interior minister Angelino Alfano told journalists at a press conference, referring to a much more limited mission led by the EU border agency Frontex. "Mare Nostrum ends. Italy has done its duty,"

He said the government had spent some 114 million euros ($142 million) on the massive naval operation since two deadly shipwrecks in October last year left over 400 people dead.

The decision comes after growing criticism both within Italy and Europe that the rescue mission was creating an unintended "pull factor" for more migrants in makeshift boats to attempt the dangerous sea crossings.

Although the op -- which has saved over 150,000 people -- is being shelved, Italy said it will abide by the laws of the sea under which ships that spot migrants in trouble are obliged to rescue them....

A 1945 boat rescue in the Mediterranean by the UK, not Italy

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