Tuesday, May 10, 2011

NATO is investigating whether any of their ships left to die immigrants

Brussels (Editorial / Agencies) .- NATO has denied the news published today by the British newspaper The Guardian in ensuring that a contingent of NATO maritime left 61 immigrants die in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. The French ship that allegedly left 61 immigrants die adrift between Tripoli and Lampedusa was not under NATO command, as confirmed by the NATO spokesman, Carmen Romero.

Between 29 and 30 March when, according to British newspaper The Guardian, a NATO aircraft carrier identified as Charles De Gaulle neglected the call of Africa was only one aircraft under allied command, Italy 'Garibaldi', sailing on the high seas away from the area where the small boat sank, according to Romero.

"Any implication that a NATO ship was ignoring a ship in distress is wrong," he said today. NATO insists that it is "fully aware of their responsibilities under international maritime law and has already rescued immigrant ships in the Mediterranean, and fairly close to the Libyan coast, for example, 300 people about to sink near Tripoli and in a second incident, about 200 also in the area.

"The NATO units involved neither saw nor heard no trace of any other vessel whose security was threatened," said the spokesman. NATO is investigating the alleged incident reported by some illegal immigrants from Libya about European military units and the Alliance would have ignored his requests for relief.

As a result, some sixty African migrants have died in the Mediterranean, according to today's Guardian, based on statements of survivors, the currents returned back to Libya, according to EFE. "We are trying to verify" information, Efe said a spokeswoman for the organization, adding that naval units are investigating what might be in the area in late March, when the boat carrying the immigrants broke down.

NATO ships "are aware of their obligations to safeguard life at sea," he said. The spokesman said that all military ships, including NATO, are subject to international maritime law, one of whose bases is the obligation of all vessels meet the distress calls from ships found in the vicinity and to provide assistance.

In this regard, he recalled that naval units of the Atlantic Alliance saved in late March at two boats in trouble with immigrants from Libya, which had about 300 and 210 passengers on board. The information mentions that a British newspaper carrier saw the ship without help him, and could be French "Charles de Gaulle, the only such military unit in the western Mediterranean at the time.

A ship with 72 people aboard According to information published by the British newspaper, a ship carrying 72 people, including women, children and political refugees drifted in late March after starting from Tripoli and asked for help even though the Italian Coast Guard and contact with a military helicopter and a warship in NATO, was not carried out any rescue operation, says the newspaper.

Finally, only eleven people on board managed to survive, while the rest died of hunger and thirst after spending 16 days at sea. As he told one of the survivors, Abu Kurka, "every morning we woke and had more bodies, we left 24 hours and then we threw it overboard." From the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has called for greater cooperation between military and commercial ships in the Mediterranean to save lives, since international maritime law requires a vessel to respond to distress calls other boats nearby.

"The Mediterranean could become the wild west", stressed the UNHCR spokeswoman Laura Boldrini, stressing that "those who succor to people in the sea can not remain unpunished." For his part, Father Moses Zerai, an Eritrean religious in Rome who heads the organization that defends the rights of immigrants Habeshia, reported that "there was a denial of responsibility that led to the deaths of more than 60 people, including children ".

The priest, who was one of the last people to communicate with immigrants before his satellite phone ran out of battery, has stressed that "this is a crime and that crime can not go unpunished because the victims were African immigrants and no tourists on a cruise. " 20 women and children Research by the British newspaper has allowed the ship set out with 72 immigrants on board - 47 Ethiopians, seven Nigerians, seven Eritreans, six Ghanaians and five Sudanese - the capital of Libya on 25 March.

Of these, 20 were women and two children, one only a year old. The final destination of the vessel was Lampedusa, but only 18 hours after leaving the boat began to suffer problems and lose fuel. Then, the immigrants used the satellite phone to call Zerai to Rome, who in turn contacted the Italian Coastguard.

They assured the religion that had given the alarm to the authorities and it was determined that the boat was about 60 miles from Tripoli. Then a military helicopter flew over the boat and sent water bottles and packets of biscuits to the passengers, who were asked to remain pending another boat came to rescue them.

However, as reported by the survivors and the people who spoke to the immigrants while they were at sea, no boat came to his aid. According to the 'Guardian', no country has acknowledged having sent the helicopter. A spokesman for the Italian Coast Guard has indicated that Malta warned that "the ship was headed to your area of search and rescue and issued a warning for ships to look for the boat, forcing them to attempt a rescue", reports Europa Press.

Since Malta is denied any involvement in the case. As the aid does not arrive and we had little fuel, the ship's captain, a Ghanaian, tried to reach Lampedusa, but on 27 March, the boat had lost its way, had run out of fuel and was drifting. At one point towards the 29 or 30 March, the ship was brought close to a NATO ship.

According to survivors, two fighters took off from the ship and flew over the boat while immigrants were shown to the children. Even then assisted. From that time without food or water, the immigrants began to die one by one. "The NATO units are fully aware of their responsibilities in regard to international maritime law and saving lives at sea", has secured an official of the Alliance.

According to the account of Kurka, who survived by drinking his own urine and eat two cans of toothpaste, we tried to save the two children, even after their parents died, but they died because "they were very small." Finally, on 10 April, the ship arrived at a beach near the Libyan town Zliten near Misrata, west of the country.

Only eleven of the 72 immigrants aboard were alive, but one of them died almost immediately after landfall, and another died soon after in prison, as government forces detained the immigrants for four days. Today the survivors are in hiding at the home of an Ethiopian in Tripoli, and despite the living are willing to return to risk their lives to reach Europe.

"We must do justice by them, so it died with them and the families who have lost loved ones," he claimed Zerai.

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