Italians declare Lampedusa 'unsafe port'

Lampedusa has been declared an unsafe port and newly intercepted or rescued migrants will not be brought to Lampedusa, but will instead be taken to Sicily.

As a result of the violent disturbances on Lampedusa over the past week and a fire that damaged buildings at the island’s migrant reception centre, Italian officials have responded with drastic measures by declaring Lampedusa "an unsafe port".

This means newly intercepted or rescued migrants will not be brought to Lampedusa, but will instead be taken to Sicily.

Trouble erupted on Tuesday when some migrants set fire to a holding centre on the island in protest over fears of plans for forced repatriation and clashes between some residents and migrants broke out again on Wednesday.

Interior Ministry undersecretary Sonia Viale condemned the violence and said repatriation plans would go ahead. "Within the next 48 hours, all the illegal immigrants present in Lampedusa will be transferred from the island and then repatriated," she said in a statement.

In normal times, Lampedusa is a sleepy place. But it has been transformed by the immigrant crisis which has placed it under increasing strain. At times, the island's 5,000-strong population has been outnumbered by the immigrants, most of them young men in search of work in Europe.

"The situation is tragic. We're tired of being exploited by this government," mayor Bernardo De Rubeis told SkyTG24 television, adding that the island had taken in more than 55,000 migrants since the beginning of the year. "We're asking (Interior Minister Roberto) Maroni to empty the island at once and we will not accept a single extra migrant."

Hundreds of Tunisians have continued to arrive on Lampedusa in recent weeks and severe overcrowding has again resulted.  The overcrowding culminated in the past week’s protests by the Tunisians. AIS ship tracking information shows that as of early Sunday morning, 25 September, the Moby Vincent and Audacia are still in the harbour and that the Moby Fantasy left Palermo during the night of the 24 September and is sailing towards Sardinia. It is unclear whether the Moby Fantasy is carrying migrants or not.

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Enforce a blockade on the Libyan and Tunisian shores. Intercept them and push them back. Repatriate those who make it to Malta. Declare all Maltese ports as unsafe. Italy, two can play the game. If the new organizations boats try to bring them here prosecute them for human trafficking and send all the illegal immigrats back.
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wy not interecept them and them back to LIyba or Tunisia. Those countries are now suppose to be safe for migrants.