Italy: Navy rescues 175 people off southern Sicily

The Italian Navy ship Fenice, rescued a boat south of Capo Passero, the southern tip of Sicily, carrying 175 immigrants including six children, overnight Wednesday. The boat had been detected by the ship’s helicopter during a patrol operation. The immigrants – reportedly from Syria, Egypt and Iraq – were treated by medical staff on board and were all declared in good condition except for a migrant who suffered from hypothermia.

Meanwhile Navy frigate Aliseo, in coordination with Catania’s anti-Mafia investigative unit (DDA), seized a ‘mother’ ship and arrested 15 crew members at the end of a complex surveillance operation. The Fenice ship carrying the migrants is expected to reach the port of Catania between Thursday and Friday.

In related news, immigration remained at a constant level last year in Italy, with about five million foreigners in Italy including both documented and undocumented ones, and immigrant families continue to be poorer than their Italian counterparts.

The overview provided by the Caritas e Migrantes 2013 report bears a great deal of resemblance to the previous year’s, though this time observations and proposals have also been included – such as that immigration detention centers (CIE) be shut down as they are expensive, ineffective and useless.