Traffickers Arrested in Migrant Deaths


By The Maritime Executive 08-19-2015 02:15:42

Italian police have arrested eight human traffickers for the deaths of 49 migrants aboard a fishing vessel in the Mediterranean. The dead were discovered August 15. Officials say they were suffocated by engine fumes. The ship’s remaining 312 survivors were transported to Catania.

The traffickers are from Libya, Morocco and Syria and they will face homicide and illegal immigration charges.  The migrants told authorities the traffickers prevented them from leaving the ship by beating them and kept them captive in the vessel’s hold.

Illegal migration in the Mediterranean has become an epidemic for the EU, especially Italy. More than 200 migrants were killed earlier this month when their fishing vessel capsized. The International Organization for Migration reported that more than 2,300 have died this year fleeing Africa. 

The EU’s Migration and Home Affairs ministry recently said it will provide aid to member countries hardest hit by the wave of migrants. Officials expect to provide at least $33.4 million soon.

Meanwhile, Greek officials intend on meeting with EU representatives about how best to use the $528 million in aid it has received to integrate migrants into its population.