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Smugglers put ship on autopilot and abandon ship with 970 migrants on board!

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Smugglers put ship on autopilot and abandon ship with 970 migrants on board!

Post by Kitkat on Thu 01 Jan 2015, 20:36

OMG!  And we think WE have problems! .....

ROME (AP) — The Italian Coast Guard rescued 970 migrants Wednesday after smugglers put their cargo ship on automatic pilot heading straight for a crash into the Italian coast and abandoned the command.


The Moldovan-flagged Blue Sky M carrying hundreds of migrants arrives at the southern Italian port of Gallipoli, some 170 kilometers (108 miles) south of Bari, Italy, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014. Italian authorities took control Tuesday of a cargo ship carrying hundreds of migrants after the crew disappeared and set it on a programmed route to crash into a coast, officials said. The alarm was first raised about the Blue Sky M after a passenger sent a distress call earlier Tuesday when the ship was off Greece. The operation came two days after a Greek-operated ferry caught fire between Greece and Italy with the loss of at least 11 lives, prompting a two-day search and rescue effort.

The Coast Guard officials said the migrants, most believed to be Syrians and including many children and pregnant women, arrived safely in Gallipoli, in Italy's southeastern Puglia region, before dawn Wednesday. More than 100 migrants were treated for hypothermia.

"It was a race against time," said Coast Guard Cmdr. Filippo Marini. "The ship was only a few (nautical) miles away from the coast of Puglia" on Tuesday night when six Coast Guard officials were lowered by helicopter onto the bridge of the Moldovan-flagged Blue Sky M to try to correct the ship's course.

Marini said the smugglers apparently had left the engine blocked on automatic pilot at a speed of 6 knots (nearly 7 mph) into the coast. "There would have been death and destruction" if the vessel had crashed into the coast, he added.

Because a storm was churning up the Adriatic Sea, rescuers couldn't board the ship from nearby Coast Guard vessels. But once on board they unblocked the engine and steered the vessel safely into Gallipoli's harbor, Marini said.

The Coast Guard traced the ship's location after a passenger made a satellite phone call seeking help. It was not clear what port the ship had left from. To avoid capture, smugglers frequently abandon migrants at sea, sometimes overturning the passengers' unseaworthy boats, according to survivors. This year alone, well over 100,000 migrants were rescued at sea by Italy. Hundreds drowned in the attempt.

Asked how the smugglers could flee given the stormy seas, Marini said the migrants were being interviewed to see if the smugglers might be mingled among them.

http://www.mail.com/int/news/europe/3282816-italy-saves-970-migrants-abandoned-smugglers.html#.1272-stage-mostviewed1-4
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Re: Smugglers put ship on autopilot and abandon ship with 970 migrants on board!

Post by Kitkat on Fri 02 Jan 2015, 11:58

and yet another one in the news today.  It appears to be big business in people-trafficking.  


Italian authorities have taken control of a ship carrying 450 migrants, thought to be Syrian, that was abandoned by its crew off Italy coast.

The Italian coast guard said it was now heading to the port of Crotone after a rescue team managed to board the ship.

The Ezadeen, sailing under the flag of Sierra Leone, lost power in rough seas overnight off the south-east of Italy.

Almost 1,000 migrants were rescued from another ship found abandoned without any crew earlier in the week.

Italian Coast Guard Cmdr Filippo Marini told reporters that the vessel was being towed by an Icelandic ship that is part of the EU Frontex border control mission.

Children and pregnant women were among the migrants, most of who were believed to be Syrian, Mr Marini said.

He added that the 73-metre (240ft) Ezadeen was believed to have set sail from Turkey, although earlier reports suggested it was sailing from Cyprus.

The alarm was raised in a distress call from one of the migrants using the maritime radio on board, who told the Italian coast guard: "We're without crew, we're heading toward the Italian coast and we have no-one to steer."

The Ezadeen was built nearly 50 years ago and is a livestock carrier. It appears to be registered to a Lebanese company and has come under the control of human traffickers.




Analysis: Jonathan Josephs, BBC News

The Ezadeen is just the latest uncrewed ship full of would-be migrants to be left to drift to its fate in the Mediterranean Sea.

One of the ships used in its rescue, the Icelandic Coastguard's ICGV Tyr, has been involved in four other similar rescues since it was deployed to the area at the beginning of December.

People-traffickers appear to be behind the phenomenon and one source with close knowledge of the rescue operations is concerned that it "seems to be something of a new trend".

What's changed is that Italy is no longer carrying out Operation Mare Nostrum, a €9m-a-month search-and-rescue response to the migrants in trouble around its coastline.

Since November the EU's border agency Frontex has been conducting its Operation Triton over a very specific area and with limited resources.

MEP Claude Moraes chairs the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee of the European Parliament and says "Triton scares no-one".

He believes that because it doesn't have the weight of a sovereign justice system behind it people traffickers are now less afraid to operate the smuggling routes.

They charge migrants thousands of dollars for the promise of a better life in Europe and show little concern for their welfare.

readmore   arrow   http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-30653742
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Re: Smugglers put ship on autopilot and abandon ship with 970 migrants on board!

Post by Kitkat on Sun 04 Jan 2015, 10:50

Yes, this is what it's all about:
one Syrian migrant, who asked for his name not to be given, told him he had paid "Turkish mafia" 7,000 euros for himself and 7,000 euros for his pregnant wife to make the journey.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-30669136

Police in Italy believe traffickers made some $3m (£1.9m; €2.5m) from 359 illegal migrants found abandoned on a cargo ship in the Mediterranean.

The Ezadeen was towed into the Italian port of Corigliano Calabro after being found by coast guards on Friday.

Most of those aboard appear to be Syrians, in the second such case involving a freighter this week.

Both ships reportedly started in Turkey, in a change from the Libyan route usually favoured by gangs.

The police chief of Cosenza province, Luigi Liguori, said each migrant had paid between $4,000 and $8,000 to board the ship.

Officers say that the smugglers wore hoods and locked the migrants in the ship's hold before apparently abandoning ship on a lifeboat.

In the earlier case, Italian coastguards boarded a ship, the Blue Sky M, carrying 796 migrants on Tuesday. Finding it without a crew, they steered it into the south Italian port of Gallipoli.

The smugglers' new tactic appears to be simple and effective: point a cargo ship towards Italy and let the coastguard pick it up, the BBC's James Reynolds reports from Corigliano Calabro.

Illegal migration to the EU has been fuelled by the civil war in Syria, which has driven people to seek asylum in Europe, along with economic migrants.

Last year it is estimated that nearly 3,500 refugees died trying to cross the Mediterranean while another 200,000 were rescued.

The Ezadeen, an ageing Sierra Leone-flagged ship originally used to transport cattle, was spotted on Thursday evening and arrived in port in Italy on Friday night.

Passengers are said to be in good condition and are being transferred to immigration centres and foster homes across Italy, according to coastguard and police officials.

Mr Liguori says the new tactic used by the criminal gangs is attracting better-off migrants.

"We've noticed a change in the make-up of the Syrian refugees on board," he said. "They are socially well off. They wear better clothes and are also better organised and, if you allow me to, they are less desperate than the migrants we normally see."

Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU's commissioner for migration, called for "decisive and coordinated EU-wide action" against the people traffickers.

"Smugglers are finding new routes to Europe and are employing new methods in order to exploit desperate people," he said, promising to present a "comprehensive approach on migration".

Passengers from the Blue Sky M have also reportedly been dispersed to reception centres around Italy.
Tommaso Tomaiuolo, a local resident in the Gallipoli area, saw the ship when it docked in the early hours of New Year's Eve and later talked to some of the migrants through the gate of a local school where they were taken.

'Turkish Mafia'

Mr Tomaiuolo told BBC News that one Syrian migrant, who asked for his name not to be given, told him he had paid "Turkish mafia" 7,000 euros for himself and 7,000 euros for his pregnant wife to make the journey.

The 35-year-old said he was scared to reveal his identity in case he was returned to Turkey, where he had been living for about a year.

He spoke fluent English and said he had lived previously several times in the UK. He and his wife, he told Mr Tomaiulo, left Turkey on 21 or 22 December, apparently starting the journey in the port of Mersin in a smaller boat.

He gave Mr Tomaiuolo a photo from his mobile phone which shows the hold of a ship packed with people during the crossing on the Blue Sky M.

    Current date/time is Thu 23 Nov 2017, 16:53