Migrant boats to return en-masse to Lampedusa after high winds prevented crossings

Migrants arriving at Lampedusa
Migrants arriving at Lampedusa
Mark White

By Mark White

Published: 28/09/2023

- 10:43

GB News has been told that authorities are preparing for ‘a return of the boats from Friday’

More migrant boats are expected to begin landing again on the Italian island of Lampedusa from tomorrow, after strong winds in the Mediterranean prevented any crossings for more than a week.

A well-placed source told GB News that authorities are preparing for "a return of the boats from Friday."

The last boat, carrying 75 people, arrived on Lampedusa from Tunisia on Thursday, just before winds picked up in the area.

This morning a group of human rights lawyers and other officials visited the island, to gauge the impact of the crisis on the community there, and check on the preparedness for a fresh wave of migrants.

WATCH NOW: Mark White on the Lampedusa migrant crisis

After visiting the local Red Cross migrant camp, they were taken on a tour of an area of the main port, where dozens of empty migrant boats still lie tied up.

Many are full of tyre inner tubes, used by the migrants as makeshift lifejackets.

The boats there come in all shapes and sizes, a makeshift armada which has one common factor, all of the vessels are completely unseaworthy.

At the height of the last recent migrant surge, more than 11,000 people arrived in hundreds of boats in the space of just five days.


Migrants board boat in Lampedusa

Migrants board boat in Lampedusa on Tuesday night

GB News

Most of the boats make the journey from Tunisia, the closest country to Italy's most southerly island.

However, some of the boats that set off from Western Libya can also end up on Lampedusa, depending on the wind and currents.

A local NGO that monitors migrant boat activity in the region, said that two boats which had set off from Libya 48 hours ago, had still not been heard from.

One of the boats, which had 145 people on board, is reported to have been suffering engine difficulties.

Migrants on LampedusaMigrants on LampedusaReuters

Another boat was carrying 90 people and has been reported missing by relatives of some of those on board.

All week, authorities on Lampedusa have been preparing for a new wave of migrant arrivals.

Police reinforcements from all over Italy have been arriving on the island.

The Italian Red Cross camp, known locally as the hotspot, has been cleared of the 11,000 recent arrivals.

The last batch of 101, mainly sub-Saharan African males left the island on Wednesday evening, on a ferry headed to the Italian mainland.

GB News has been told that Tunisian people smugglers, who have been waiting for the winds to ease, have now begun preparing boats to launch into the Mediterranean.

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