Italy Receives 2,500 African Migrant Sea Arrivals in One Week

migrants italy
AP/Sima Diab

ROME — A total of 2,572 African migrants have disembarked in Italy in the week between November 2 and 8, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported Monday.

This week’s additional arrivals bring the total number of migrants into the European Union (EU) in 2021 to 121, 463, the IOM noted.

This figure represents a significant increase over 2020, which saw a total of 99,475 migrant arrivals in the entire year.

The most common nation of provenance of the immigrants in 2021 is Tunisia, followed by Algeria, “unidentified sub-Saharan,” and Morocco.

African migrants who were rescued by the Tunisian army as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean Sea by boat to Italy, rest at the port of El Ketef in Ben Guerdane, in southern Tunisia near the border with Libya, on June 11, 2021. Tunisia and Libya are key departure points for migrants attempting the dangerous crossing from the North African coast to Europe, particularly Italy. (FATHI NASRI/AFP via Getty Images)

On Sunday, the German NGO Sea Eye 4 vessel unloaded 847 migrants at the Sicilian port of Trapani, after being granted permission to disembark by Italian authorities. Around half of the migrants were picked up from a sinking wooden boat on November 4, while the others were collected from the sea in separate operations.

Meanwhile, another NGO ship, Ocean Viking, awaits assignment of a port near the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa to unload its 306 migrant passengers.

Migrant arrivals into Italy have been increasing steadily since its leftward leaning government reopened its ports to disembarkations and welcomed the work of NGO rescue ships, which many say encourages would-be migrants to undertake the perilous passage across the Strait of Sicily to Italy.

Migrants of South Asian origin rescued by Tunisia’s national guard during an attempted crossing of the Mediterranean to Italy by boat rest at the port of el-Ketef in Ben Guerdane in southern Tunisia near the border with Libya on June 24, 2021. (FATHI NASRI/AFP via Getty Images)

Former interior minister Matteo Salvini, who brought mass migration under control during his tenure, has been very critical of the current administration’s immigration policy.

“NGOs in action: another 1,000 illegal immigrants to Italy,” he tweeted on November 4. “They are foreign organizations, with foreign ships, which were in Libyan and Maltese waters. They must not land in our country.”

Migrant arrivals into Italy in 2019 totaled a mere 11,471. In 2020, the number trebled to 34,154 and as of November 8, the total for 2021 stands at 56,009, nearly half of the total for all of Europe.

All of Italy’s arrivals in 2021 have come by sea.


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