A week ago, a boat carrying African migrants heading for Sicily wrecked off the small island of Lampedusa in the central Mediterranean. The boat, apparently carrying more than 500 people, became disabled and then began to capsize merely 800 meters from shore. When a fire broke out on board, many of the migrants jumped into the sea.
Local fishermen and the Italian Coast Guard rescued 155 migrants off Lampedusa, but 311 people died in the shipwreck. Another 50 or more passengers are still missing, according to the latest report from the BBC.
The BBC reported the wreck on 3 October and subsequently on the rescue and recovery operations of the Italian Coast Guard and other forces. Bodies have been laid out in Lampedusa, amid local anger at Italian officials, as the BBC reports.
This disaster demonstrates once again the human rights debacle in the Mediterranean. Desperate Africans are taking enormous risks to reach European shores, despite or because of European policies. The BBC reports on the failure of European migrant policies in the Mediterranean, which have been accused of violating human rights statutes.