Triton Update

HELPING THE CHILDREN ON BOAT

Dear Blog Readers –

Here is a quick update to my earlier post (Back to Lampedusa) on visiting the Portuguese ship Viana Do Castelo. When my AP Television colleague Paolo Santalucia and I visited the ship last Wednesday there were no migrant spottings, but on Friday night the ship kicked into action overnight with their first rescue operation.

Migrants' ship next to Portuguese Vessel Viana Do Castelo. Friday, November 14, 2014. Credit: Portuguese Navy

Migrants’ ship next to Portuguese Vessel Viana Do Castelo. Friday, November 14, 2014. Credit: Portuguese Navy

They were sent to rescue a migrant ship under distress 40 nautical miles off the Libyan coast. When they reached the migrants they found 201 people packed on board a small, rickety wooden boat. The Portuguese transferred the migrants to their ship where they provided blankets, water, food and medical assistance. On board were 20 women and 15 children.

Freeze frame of videio of migrants on deck of Portuguese vessel the Viana Do Castelo. November 14, 2014. Credit: Portuguese Navy

Freeze frame of videio of migrants on deck of Portuguese vessel the Viana Do Castelo. November 14, 2014. Credit: Portuguese Navy

Under the operating procedures, the identification of the migrants’ nationalities and any finger-printing is left to the Italian authorities once the migrants reach shore.

On Saturday morning the migrants were transferred to the Italian navy ship, the San Giorgio, which is transporting them to Sicily where they are expected to arrive today (Sunday, November 16th).

The crew sent me these photos of the operation.

A little migrant girl helping a Portuguese sailor fold a blanket on the deck of Viana Do Castelo. November  15, 2014 Credit: Portuguese Navy

A little migrant girl helping a Portuguese sailor fold a blanket on the deck of Viana Do Castelo. November 15, 2014 Credit: Portuguese Navy

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Trisha Thomas
Trisha is a TV journalist working for AP TV News in Rome. She is married to an Italian and is a Mamma of three.

10 Comments

  1. Kevin Maxwell
    2014/11/16

    This is so sad – and I genuinely feel for the Italian government
    Basically the rest of the EU has pretty much turned its back on what’s happening and ignored what’s going on.
    There’s no way that Italy can deal with this problem by itself – and for what it’s worth, I’ve been impressed with their (solo) efforts on this over the past few years.
    Forza Italian (pls excuse me if I got the spelling wrong!)

    Reply
  2. Adri
    2014/11/17

    Trisha, this is all so terribly sad. These people only want what every human should be entitled to – a safe home and the ability to raise one’s family in peace and some degree of prosperity. Yet it seems that much of the world has turned its back on them. So many of them come from poor countries or failed states where a happy life is all but impossible. What it must be like to live in a country of shattered dreams, I can not imagine. Is there a great deal of disagreement within the Italian government about how these people should be taken care of?

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2014/11/18

      Hi Adri — there is not so much disagreement within the Italian government as among the Italian people. The Italian Navy’s twitter handle is bombarded with nasty messages about how they are bringing all these people into Italy — why don’t they just go build a bridge from Libya to Lampedusa etc. Also there have been some nasty anti-immigrant protests in Rome last week. The economy is so bad right now in Italy, and as we all know, when things go bad economically people tend to turn on others less fortunate.

      Reply
  3. Alan
    2014/11/17

    . . the area of coverage by the EU ‘effort’ is pathetically small compared with what italy was doing – better than nothing, but not much!

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2014/11/18

      Well, as it turns out they are already getting pushed into doing much more because the Italians are running the international coordination center and they are sending the European boats well beyond the 30 nautical miles and close to Libya for rescue operations.

      Reply
  4. Joan Schmelzle
    2014/11/17

    I can only echo what the above commenter said. I will add a thank you for the update. And I loved the picture of the little girl helping fold the blanket.

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2014/11/18

      Isn’t that little girl adorable!! Who knows what the future holds for her.

      Reply
  5. Nancy Rockwell
    2014/11/21

    So terribly sad, my heart aches here. Today, though, I interviewed three seniors at Exeter who are applying to Brown, and all three are children of refugee parents, who managed somehow to escape terrible situations, begin again, and now have these terrific kids. So working with the Lampedusa refugees can really make a difference in a short time, if they can just find a country that will take them. It’s nearly Thanksgiving, a reminder that the US was begun by English refugees, whose fate at home was tars and feathers, a form of torture, no jobs and suppression of speech. It did happen. And who knows when it will again?

    Reply
    • Trisha Thomas
      Trisha Thomas
      2014/11/23

      Nancy, how wonderful to hear about the three seniors at Exeter who are applying to Brown. It is often the case that children of parents who have overcome incredible difficulties and hardships are much more motivated to study hard and succeed. Sometimes I think I don’t do enough to motivate my own children (too much of a Mozzarella Mamma rather than a Tiger Mamma I guess), but in the case of refugees, I don’t think it is the parents driving the children, it is their own realization of just how lucky they are. I was so pleased this week to see Obama making some strong decisions regarding immigrants in the US, indeed we are a country of refugees and Thanksgiving is an important reminder to all of us every year that we were welcomed by the Native American Indians and we need to be welcoming to others. Thanks for comments, they are always so stimulating and interesting.

      Reply
  6. Kay
    2014/11/22

    Reading this and your Lampedusa entries are so interesting especially having witnessed firsthand the protests in Rome last week regarding immigration. It’s funny but many Americans feel like we are the only ones with immigration concerns, but they should read the Italian headlines! We have more in common than we think! It was kind of scary seeing all of the police in riot gear and the helecopters patrolling overhad and there was that weird energy in the air not to mention the loudspeakers with angry speeches going on. Not what I anticipated on my few days in Rome, but then again it never is…but it was so very good to meet with you Trisha! Thank you for taking time from your busy day, it was a great pleasure!

    Reply

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