Dienstag, 17. Juli 2012

The Oloferne at the gates of Fortress Europe!

After a short crossing from Tunisia, Oloferne arrived at the port of Lampedusa
This Sunday, July 15, 2012 at midnight, the Oloferne left Tunisia to Lampedusa with a new team on board. The crossing was an opportunity for self-study and discussions on legal and technical aspects of sea rescue and repression of migration in the Sicilian Channel.
As described in many accounts of migrants gathered by Boats 4 People, we were overflown by aircrafts patrols while coming close to the Italian coast.

The Oloferne was flown at 9:41 am at position 35° 44' 028 N - 11° 38' 204 E and then at 11:17 am at position 35° 37' 824 N - 12° 01' 546 E, both times at an altitude between 100 and 200 meters. We also spotted some large boats, with no tags AIS (Automatic Identification System). This system is compulsory for instant location of large vessels (see  www.marinetraffic.org), which suggests that this would be military ships, but we cannot confirm it. A fast boat of Italian Coast Guard then went close to us about two hours before we arrived in Lampedusa at position 35 ° 32'277N - 12 ° 21'291E.
The importance of this control system show the truthfulness of statements made by migrants who claim to have been flown by recognition aircrafts on the edge of Italy. It also shows once again that the European authorities and their agents have the necessary means to identify shipwrecks and rescue migrants.
The cheers of activists of Askavusa and international activists welcomed the Oloferne when the boat arrived safely to its final stage in Lampedusa harbour. Teams of journalists, lawyers and activists are now collecting  information in different places of the island.
On July 19, from 12 am to 1 pm will take place the projections of two short videos and a presentation of the Boats4People’s project at the former registration office near Piazza Castello (Castle square), in via Roma (Rome street).
The same day at 4 pm we invite you to a press conference aboard the Oloferne, in the port of Lampedusa under the office of the Coast Guard, with speeches by Carmen Cordaro (Lawyer and Member of ARCI), of Albert Chaïbou (alternative reporter and member of Alternative Espaces Citoyen - Niger), Lorenzo Pezzani (co-founder of the platform Watch the Med in the project Boats 4 People) and the organization Askavusa. The press conference will be followed by efforts to commemorate the dead and missing at sea to be held at the door of Europe with the intervention of the mayor and representatives of associations.
On this occasion, works on the theme of migration, performed by the collective of artists Tunisian Ahle El Kahf will be donated to the organization Askavusa as a symbol of solidarity with the boat people between the two banks of the Mediterranean and to represent the bridge between the end of Boats4People’s action in 2012 and the continuity of the project by local organizations, including through the launch of Lampedusa Infestival.

Press contacts:

Carmen Cordaro (Italiano) : +39 33 88 64 02 13
Lorenzo Pezzani (Italiano) : +39 34 07 75 13 03
Nicanor Haon (Français / Español / English) : +39 32 82 93 71 98

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