Italian Admiral Backs Naval Blockade To Stop Illegal Migration

SICILY, ITALY - FEBRUARY 24: Italian frigate Carabiniere (F593) attends NATO's joint
Baris Seckin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

An Italian Admiral has expressed his support for forming a naval blockade in the Mediterranean to halt illegal migration as Italy continues to see the largest number of arrivals since 2017.

Rear Admiral Nicola De Felice has released a new book in Italy called Stop the Invasion, in which he advocates for a naval blockade to halt illegal arrivals, a policy also floated by Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni earlier this year.

“Targeted action to tackle the root causes of illegal immigration is absolutely necessary. The solution may be the implementation of the so-called ‘naval blockade’, understood not as a war-style blockade but a naval interdiction intervention, aimed at blocking the departures of boats linked to human trafficking,” the Admiral told the newspaper Il Giornale.

“Had it been implemented from the beginning, the ‘naval blockade’ would have prevented the deaths of thousands and thousands of people, including many children,” De Felice added.

Admiral De Felice went on to note that cooperation with governments in places like North Africa was crucial to halting illegal migration along with helping economic development in the home countries of migrants, to give them an incentive not to make the dangerous journey.

“We can stop the criminal trafficking of these people if we create economic development in their countries and in the countries from which they leave. Deaths at sea are eliminated if departures are avoided and if hotspots on African soil are financed, managed and controlled by European forces, in collaboration with local forces,” he said.

De Felice also noted the plight of many migrants who are trafficked by people smugglers to Europe and forced into drug dealing or prostitution saying, “Women sent to prostitution, men used for drug dealing, while children pay terrible prices: they risk ending up either in the ring of child prostitution, petty crime or in the hell of the organ trade. This is unacceptable.”

So far this year, over 86,000 illegal immigrants have arrived in Italy, with at least 10,000 of them being picked up in the Mediterranean by migrant taxi NGOs and dropped off in Italy.

Italy’s new Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi has already made moves to halt the activity of migrant taxi NGOs and resurrected the security decrees enacted by former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, which was one of the policies hailed as decreasing arrivals and migrant deaths in 2018 and 2019.


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



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