Italy’s second ‘ghost ship’ rescue prompts EU pledge on migrants

Some 500 Syrian would be immigrants arrive aboard the Ezadeen ship at Corigliano harbour, southern Italy on January 2, 2015 (AFP Photo/Alfonso Di Vincenzo)

(Reuters) – A cargo ship abandoned by its crew with 359 Syrian refugees on board was towed ashore in Italy on Saturday in the second such rescue this week, prompting calls for stronger European Union action in the face of new tactics by human traffickers.

“Smugglers are finding new routes to Europe and are employing new methods in order to exploit desperate people,” said Dimitris Avramopoulos, EU Commissioner for Migration. “These events underscore the need for decisive and coordinated EU-wide action.”

He said the European Union was preparing a new migration plan to be presented “in due course”, and which would make the fight against smugglers a priority.

But efforts have been hampered by the sheer weight of migrant numbers, the cost of sea patrols and arguments within the EU over how to share the burden…

…”Europe needs to wake up and make trafficking a priority,” said Sergio Divina, a politician from the anti-immigration Northern League party…