Immigrants: search for missing persons in Leuca unsuccessful

7 at sea and 4 survivors, political debate resumed

20 June, 12:51

(ANSAmed) - SANTA MARIA DI LEUCA (LECCE), 20 JUNE - The search for seven migrants missing after the boat they were on wrecked in the Strait of Otranto has gone on all night, but it was unsuccessful. According to what the Harbour Office coordinating the search reported two Coast Guard boats and an helicopter of the Financial Police Corp have been working all night. Thanks to favourable weather conditions, since today at dawn the area has been searched by two Coast Guard patrol boats, two Financial Police patrol boats, two Carabinieri Corp and State Police boats and further monitored from above by an helicopter of the Military Navy and two Coast Guard planes. The boat wrecked yesterday at approximately 06:40 in the morning; the small powerboat in fibreglass with 11 migrants aboard had departed from a Greek port and sank at a distance of approximately 06 miles north-west of Leuca and Torre Vado, in Morciano di Leuca. Four migrants (2 Libyans, a Tunisian and an Afghan), including a minor, were rescued and taken to the Leuca marina, then to the Tricase (Lecce) hospital. After having been given first aid, they were taken to the reception centre "Don Tonino Bello" in Otranto (Lecce), where the State Police carried out all necessary identification procedures.

This new tragedy of the sea occurred the day before the international refugee day, which is being celebrated today; the wreck prompted again a heated political debate in Italy.

According to Puglia's governor Nichi Vendola, ''it is unthinkable to manage migration flows which are taking place on an ever-increasing scale using repression, as if they were a huge public order issue." According to the Chairman of the Commission for Human Rights at the Senate, Pietro Marcenaro, "it's about time to accelerate initiatives and negotiations by Europe and Italy, in order to let the UNCHR open their centres in the countries of departure of migrants. These centres would make it possible to apply for asylum and humanitarian protection and to organise legal and safe travel." (ANSAmed).

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