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Lampedusa struggles with broken boats belonging to refugees – News

Lampedusa struggles with broken boats belonging to refugees – News

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Nearly 160,000 migrants have fled across the Mediterranean to Italy in 2023. They come in small wooden or metal boats, often bound for Lampedusa. The legacy of this migration is now accumulating there.

Broken boats, life jackets, baby bottles or shoes: thousands of migrants arrive in Lampedusa every year – and with them a whole legacy of people on the run. They are found on the beaches, in the harbor and on the coasts of the island.

There are so many of them that it is difficult for the island to keep up with the disposal process: “Because a lot of these boats accumulate here, they cannot be disposed of in time, and when bad weather comes, unfortunately everything ends up being washed away.” On small beaches » says Lampedusa Mayor Filippo Mannino.

Filippo Mannino, Mayor of Lampedusa, in an interview.

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These boats represent a human drama, explains Filippo Mannino, Mayor of Lampedusa.

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But it is not only the island itself that is affected, but also the surrounding sea. After being rescued at sea, many wooden and metal boats were left to their fate. They drown or are eventually washed ashore. The island's fishermen say there are already thousands of these boats at the bottom of the sea. The photos they took while working attest to this.

Security problem

Mayor Mannino said this is a big problem for shipping safety because other boats can collide with these boats. “Then it is a serious problem of environmental pollution because boats sink and sometimes they are caught unintentionally by fishermen. “This destroys all their equipment.”

Fishermen in Lampedusa mending a net.

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Wood from sunken boats can get caught in fishing nets.

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Fishermen on Lampedusa are terrified. They have been calling attention to the problem for years and demanding that something happen. But so far almost nothing is happening. “We are tired,” says fisherman Salvatore Lombardo. “We lose entire days of work, an entire catch, and no one pays us for it.”

Boats must be disposed of in mainland Italy

Migrant boats brought ashore usually end up in the port of Lampedusa. Since it is hazardous waste, it must be transported to mainland Italy. The island, with an area of ​​20 square kilometers and a population of about 6,000, is too small and ill-equipped.

After all: a European project is being planned. With support from Brussels, the seabed and coast of Lampedusa will soon be cleaned of the effects of migration.