The captaincy of the port of Crotona assures that the migrants from the shipwreck of Calabria could have been saved | International

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The hours pass and the migrants killed in the shipwreck last Sunday in Calabria continue to increase. On Wednesday, the day the funeral chapel installed in the Crotona Sports Palace was opened, the rescue services found body number 67 —belonging to a child— in an operation that is not yet concluded and is under suspicion. The general impression, four days after the tragedy, is that not all available means were used to help the boat loaded with more than 180 people, whose presence was reported more than six hours before the shipwreck. The crossfire has reached Parliament, where the Minister of the Interior, Matteo Piantedosi, has had to explain the sequence of six hours in which no type of relief operation was activated.

The first version of the rescue indicated that bad weather had prevented the departure of the boats that carry out these operations. But on Wednesday morning, the head of the Crotona port captaincy, Vittorio Aloi, denied that the storm was a sufficient impediment to the rescue. "We are aware that the sea on Sunday was force 4, but larger boats could have sailed up to force 8. No alarm was communicated to us." This statement would confirm negligence in the process of detecting the vessel and the danger it posed to its passengers. The problem now is to elucidate the origin of this information short circuit.

Frontex, the European agency that deals with border control, sighted from one of its planes at 10:23 p.m. on Saturday the vessel 40 miles (64.3 kilometers) from the Italian coast. A few days later, he notified the Italian authorities, who have now communicated that they only received information about the ship, its "good seaworthiness" and the possibility that there were other people hiding inside the hold. The agency, on the other hand, assured on Tuesday that it had warned of the overload of the ship.

No rescue procedure

In any case, at no time was a rescue procedure activated and Italy sent only two customs police boats that came slightly close to the vessel. The storm and a problem of lack of fuel forced them to return to port. Until minutes before five in the morning, when the shipwreck had already occurred and the migrants were scattered in the sea, there was no other intervention.

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The Crotona prosecutor, who is trying to reconstruct the case to determine if there was negligence in the operation, said on Wednesday that "nobody declared the emergency and, therefore, a rescue operation was never launched." That already seems an irrefutable fact. But he added more. "I don't see such a crime scenario, but I think the role of Frontex should be reconsidered." The Minister of the Interior, Matteo Piantedosi, also assured that there was no type of ransom request from the migrants' boat. Everyone seems to agree, however, that those 67 victims could have been prevented.

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