European Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström reacted with “sadness and anxiety” as news broke on October 11 2013 of a new capsizing of a boatload of migrants in the Mediterranean, leaving many dozens of people feared dead.
The boat capsized about 120km off Lampedusa, an Italian island where more than 300 African migrants drowned when their vessel went down last week, the BBC said.
Italian and Maltese ships – backed by helicopters – were scrambled to the scene.
Malmström said that these “these new horrible events are happening while we still have the shocking images of the tragedy in Lampedusa in our minds and stress even more strongly the urgency of a wide Frontex search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean, from Cyprus to Spain, to better detect and assist boats in distress.
“I reiterate my call to all EU member states to quickly make available the necessary resources to allow Frontex to define the details of such an operation.”
“In the aftermath of the Lampedusa tragedy we heard solidarity expressions from all EU countries, but these will remain only empty words if they are not followed by concrete actions,” Malmström said.
“I also call on North African countries, in particular Libya, to fight more effectively the criminals who put these people in unseaworthy vessels and organise these journeys of death.
“I wish to repeat my call to member states to engage more in resettlement of refugees in order to find safe ways for them to receive protection in the EU,” Malmström said.
(Photo: Italian navy)