Cargo Vessel Unloads Migrants in Sicily As Migrant Route Numbers Rise

TOPSHOT - Migrants rescued at sea wait to be transferred at the harbour of Algeciras on August 1, 2018. - Spain has overtaken Italy as the preferred destination for migrant arrivals in Europe this year as a crackdown by Libyan authorities has made it more difficult for them to reach …

A cargo ship unloaded 79 migrants to the island of Sicily as Italy sees a rise in illegal immigration and the European Union border agency Frontex warns of a surge of migrants heading toward Greece.

The cargo vessel Marina dropped off another 79 migrants at the town of Porto Empedocle on Friday after they were picked up in the search area off the coast of Malta on May 3rd.

The landing of the migrants came despite orders from the town’s mayor Ida Carmina given on April 10th that the town’s ports would be closed to migrant transport vessels, newspaper Il Giornale reports.

“First aid will be guaranteed to migrants and then they will be taken away,” Mayor Carmina claimed.

Lampedusa, Italy’s southernmost island in the Mediterranean, has also begun to see another surge of new migrant arrivals — despite the Chinese coronavirus outbreak and the national lockdown measures put in place to stop its spread.

Earlier this week the island saw at least 200 migrants arrive in just two days and joined another 100 migrants who were camped on a pier for two days prior under the cover of a large tent.

Italy has also seen a surge of migrants enter the country through its northern border with Slovenia, with local police complaining that the Slovenians have done nothing to stop the migrants from getting across the border into Italy.

League (Lega) Matteo Salvini was planning to build a wall to put a stop to such crossings while he was in government, but the new left-liberal coalition does not support strong border controls.

Greece, meanwhile, is also facing a surge of new arrivals, according to the European Union border agency Frontex.

The agency stated in a confidential report, leaked by German newspaper Die Welt, that it expects a huge surge of migrants as coronavirus lockdown measures are lifted in Turkey.

“The restrictions on Covid-19 have been gradually lifted in most Aegean provinces, but not yet in Canakkale, Istanbul, and Izmir. If freedom of movement is restored in these areas, massive movements of migrants towards the Greek-Turkish border can be expected,” the internal report said.

The Turkish government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had previously been shipping illegal migrants to the Greek border in large numbers, and used force to support their efforts to break through its defences.

Turkey’s Islamist regime only closed the border due to the coronavirus outbreak, but shortly after the closure Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu warned that the migrants would return when the pandemic was over.

Coinciding with the surge in new arrivals has been a push from Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas to push for migrant redistribution across the EU, a policy rejected by countries like Hungary and Poland — which unlikely Germany never supported bringing hundreds of thousands of migrants to Europe — in the past.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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