Livestock carrier Ezadeen with hundreds of migrants abandoned by crew, the same scenario
Livestock carrier Ezadeen with some 450 migrants on board is heading for (under way), or drifting after losing power, in Ionian Sea, being in the morning Jan 2 some 50 miles off southeast tip of Italy, in roughly the same area, where freighter Blue Sky M was boarded by Italian Coast Guard on Dec 30 after the vessel was abandoned by the crew. Same story with Ezadeen – the crew left the vessel, leaving her on autopilot heading for Italy coast. Again, authorities were put on the alert by a distress signal, emergency phone call from one of the “passengers”. It looks like a trend, a new tactic used by human traffickers – to take vessel to Italian waters, abandon it and send “distress” signal. There is nothing authorities can do except to rescue the vessel in distress and people aboard. It is said that the cost of delivering migrants to Italy is some thousands USD per person, so those stunning hundreds of migrants may pay off everything including losing of the vessel, which may be bought for some $100,000 – 200,000 at the most, leaving traffickers with a nice profit.
Maybe it’s high time to work out new tactics to deal with such traffickers. One thing is definite, though – merchant vessels should keep clear of migrant vessels and boats “in distress”, and shouldn’t be involved in rescue operations, it’s too risky for vessels, crews, cargoes and sometimes, passengers. More often, than not, “distress” scenario is coming out as a trick.