Survivors and households of 94 migrants who died in shipwreck off Italy name for reality a yr later | EUROtoday

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Survivors and members of the family of victims of a tragic shipwreck a yr in the past that killed 94 migrants, together with 35 minors, just some meters off Italy’s southern coast, returned for 3 days of commemorations ending Monday, calling for reality and justice.

A torchlight vigil, a photograph exhibition and a protest march have been amongst occasions on the close by city of Crotone organized by a bunch of activists named Network Feb. 26 after the date of the tragedy. Most of the useless hailed from nations within the Middle East or South Asia.

“One year after the carnage, their right to the truth, to justice and to be reunited with their families has not been guaranteed yet,” the group wrote on its Facebook web page.

On Feb. 26 final yr, a picket boat departed from Turkey carrying about 200 migrants and sank just some meters (yards) off the coast of southern Calabria whereas making an attempt to land on the seaside resort seashore of Steccato di Cutro.

Network Feb. 26 contains over 400 associations which have repeatedly requested the Italian authorities to hunt the reality about one of many deadliest migrant shipwrecks within the Mediterranean.

The group has denounced repeated coverage failures and alleged violations of human rights by Italian and EU authorities, seen as the primary trigger behind the lengthy string of deaths of migrants who face dangerous journeys to succeed in European coasts of their seek for a greater life.

Activists have additionally complained that a few of the kinfolk and survivors have been denied the best to return to Crotone for the anniversary of the shipwreck, as a result of difficulties in acquiring correct paperwork.

“When we met (Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni ) in Rome after the tragedy, (she) promised that her staff would (work) to reunite us and our families, but that has never happened,” mentioned Haroon Mohammadi, 24, a survivor from Herat, Afghanistan, who misplaced a few of his buddies within the shipwreck.

Mohammadi now lives in Hamburg, Germany, the place he has obtained a one-year residence allow, and hopes to proceed to check economics at a college there.

“It’s very difficult for me to be back here, but I came to honor friends and relatives we’ve lost. … We became like a family following that day,” he informed The Associated Press.

Many of the useless and survivors had fled Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Syria, hoping to hitch members of the family in Italy and different Western European nations.

After the shipwreck, the right-wing authorities of Meloni accepted a decree establishing a brand new crime — folks smuggling that causes the loss of life of migrants — punishable by as much as 30 years in jail, and pledged to additional toughen its battle towards unlawful immigration.

On Sunday, tons of of individuals, together with a bunch of about 50 survivors and kinfolk of the victims, marched in Crotone regardless of heavy rain with a banner asking to “stop deaths at sea.” Demonstrators additionally stopped to pay homage in entrance of PalaMilone, a sports activities advanced that hosted the victims’ caskets.

On Saturday, Crotone’s Pitagora Museum inaugurated a photograph exhibit titled “Dreams Cross the Sea,” that includes 94 images, one for every of the victims.


In the early hours of Feb. 26, the boat named Summer Love sank just some meters (yards) from the coast of the southern Calabria area, whereas making an attempt to land on the close by seashore. Authorities say the shipwreck resulted within the deaths of no less than 94 of the 200 on board. Eighty passengers survived and about 10 have been thought-about lacking. Dozens of younger youngsters have been onboard and nearly none survived.

The stunning accident raised a number of questions over how EU border company Frontex and the Italian coastguard responded to it.

Six days after the tragedy, Meloni informed journalists that “no emergency communication from Frontex reached Italian authorities,” who she mentioned weren’t warned that the vessel was in peril of sinking.

However, a Frontex incident report later indicated that Italian authorities informed the EU company on the time of the sighting that the case was not thought-about an emergency.

The Cutro shipwreck quickly turned a stark illustration of the deadly risks confronted by migrants as they attempt to attain European coasts on overcrowded and fragile boats, after paying smugglers for expensive journeys.

A complete of two,571 migrants died at sea in 2023, in keeping with figures from the International Organization for Migration. Nearly 100 folks have been reported lacking or useless within the Mediterranean because the starting of 2024, greater than double the toll recorded final yr throughout the identical interval, the IOM mentioned.


Over the previous yr, Cutro survivors and kinfolk of the victims have voiced their rage, stressing that the tragedy might have been prevented if authorities reacted earlier to the migrants’ determined requires assist.

Their testimonies on the tragedy have challenged each the Italian authorities and the worldwide group to search out new options to the migration disaster.

Meanwhile, the local people, which supplied burial niches for a few of the victims, expressed a deep solidarity and dedication to serving to survivors and honoring the misplaced.

“My name is Mojtaba. I was born on Feb. 26, 2023. I feel I’m 1 year old today,” mentioned survivor Mojtaba Rezapour Moghaddam, a 47-year-old Iranian who’s constructing a brand new life in Crotone with the assistance of locals and support teams.

Moghaddam fears the smugglers on board the Summer Love — after being arrested and sentenced — shall be ready go to again to Turkey and restart their unlawful trafficking actions.

His almost-deadly journey to Italy costed him about 9,000 euros, however he recalled that others on the boat had paid much more.


Earlier in February, a Crotone Justice of the Peace sentenced Gun Ufuk, a 29-year-old Turkish citizen accused of being one of many folks smugglers on the vessel, to twenty years in jail and a 3 million euro high-quality. Ufuk was arrested in March final yr after being recognized in Austria, to the place he had managed to flee.

Ufuk selected a fast-track trial, whereas the opposite three alleged smugglers who survived the shipwreck are present process odd procedures, which can final a number of months, if not years.

Their trial was just lately adjourned to April 10 to allow testimony from three survivors who’re in Hamburg and can testify by way of videoconference.

Meanwhile, a second investigation launched by prosecutors in Crotone into alleged delays within the rescue operations is anticipated to wrap up in a month’s time. That probe entails three law enforcement officials from the Italian tax and border police and a further three folks whose identities are unknown.


Zampano reported from Rome.


Follow AP’s world migration protection at