Mediterranean migrant boat hit rescue ship

Details have emerged about the capsize of a migrant boat in the Mediterranean on Sunday that killed more than 800.

Prosecutors in Italy say the captain, who survived and faces multiple homicide charges, crashed the boat by mistake against a merchant rescue ship.

The capsize is the deadliest recorded in the Mediterranean, the UN says.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says deaths in 2015 are 30 times higher than the same period last year and could rise to 30,000.

The 28 survivors of the weekend capsize arrived in Catania, Sicily, late on Monday.

Italian police said they issued an arrest warrant for the Tunisian captain of the boat, Mohammed Ali Malek, 27, and crew member Mahmud Bikhit, a 25-year-old Syrian, as soon as the coastguard vessel Bruno Gregoretti docked.

Capt Malek was accused of causing a shipwreck, multiple first degree homicides and being accomplice to clandestine immigration. Mr Bikhit was accused only of the third charge.

The charges on both men have yet to be formally laid by a judge. The pair will appear in court tomorrow.

The Italian prosecutors said there appeared to be two causes of the capsize.

They said the migrant boat captain had tried to come alongside the rescue vessel and “accidentally caused the small fishing boat to collide with the bigger merchant ship”.

The Italian prosecutors said there appeared to be two causes of the capsize.

They said the migrant boat captain had tried to come alongside the rescue vessel and “accidentally caused the small fishing boat to collide with the bigger merchant ship”.

The second cause was the “overcrowding of the fishing boat, so the boat was tipped off balance by the wrong manoeuvre, causing the migrants on board to shift. It then capsized”.

Chief prosecutor Giovanni Salvi said the huge death toll was as a result of so many migrants being locked below on the three-deck boat.

–BBC

email
Print Friendly

Leave a Comment