Lampedusa fisherman fear ISIS on the sea…
“The fishermen of Lampedusa still remember what happened in 1986”. Salvatore Martello, president of the Consortium fishermen of Lampedusa, at this time continues to tell the tale to those who ask what the situation in the island after the Islamic state has taken the city of Sirte in Libya. On April 15, ’86, 24 hours after US President Ronald Reagan ordered an air strike on Libya to eliminate Gaddafi, Colonel retaliated by ordering the launch of two Scud missiles on Lampedusa, where he had an office center Loran NATO. The islanders felt distinctly around 17 the two strong explosions of missiles, and panic took refuge in the “dammusi” of the inland areas of Lampedusa: “The then Defense Minister Giovanni Spadolini said that the missiles Gaddafi would not have arrived in Italy, because he did not consider Lampedusa as Italian at the bottom. Here you are. The climate that we live in these days is the same as then, a sense of abandonment. ”
What is the situation in the last few hours?
This morning the boats Lampedusa came out to fish as always. But gradually they all decide to return prematurely. With the news that are out there, the continued illegal landings of these days, the tension for a war or an attack, there is a lot of fear. Tripoli is 180 miles from our island, while the Gulf of Sirte is about 200 miles. We usually we go about 50 miles away from Lampedusa, so the distance from the Libyan coast is reduced to 130 miles. And Porto Empedocle, the closest Sicilian port, is also 130 miles. Lampedusa We are in the midst of chaos, while the distance with Italy and one with Sirte for us is the same. We still remember when Gaddafi fired two missiles in 1986. At the time one came close, another passed the island without hitting. But we were left to ourselves, and we are today.
What do they tell the fishermen with whom he talked in recent days?
Today returning fishermen have told me: “We scared to stay at sea. You can not rest easy. Listening to the radio on board constantly hear news of new boats nearby and now we fear that Libya should not start only more migrants. Those who occupied Sirte are terrorists who cut off heads. ” Yesterday came the news that were killed 21 Coptic Egyptians. Perspectives that we can have with a neighbor like that? Only fear.
Meanwhile these days continued bailouts of Boat Migrants at sea: only between Saturday and today as many as 800 people were rescued from the lookouts. The problem is that the situation in Libya is out of control. We fishermen ultimately did not happen to cross barges (because the operation Triton also pushes the lookouts over the water where the fish usually Lampedusa, ed), but it happened an unusual fact that we were very worried.
Yesterday (the day before yesterday to the reader, ed) a lookout of the captaincy was close to a boat load of migrants to save them. During the rescue operation, approached another boat, carrying the smugglers, who attacked the lookout Italian with machine guns. The men of the captaincy were armed only with pistols in order, so they had to go without being able to return fire. No one knows why he was fired at with machine guns, a hypothesis is that the smugglers wanted to recover the barge before it was seized by the captaincy. Whatever the reason, it does not matter: it is the first time that happens, however, the concern remains that happen again. The fishermen are wondering what they could do if it happened to them, that they are not armed. How do we respond when shot at? You know, here we do not even know who defends our coastline. We went to Germany and France to bring down Gaddafi, but at least when he was there we had one head with which speak now in Libya do not know who’s in charge and there is no one who takes the order. In theory should defend our shores the Italians, or Europe. But for the moment we have not seen anything. Why are they waiting to defend themselves? In recent times there have been more patrols, increased only relief. You have to control who starts from Libya, because once at sea is impossible to stop people.
You already had economic losses for this situation?
Here in Lampedusa we are in pre-bankruptcy. Tourism-related economic losses caused by the landings and we have had many since 2009. But if it continues the forced stop fishing, for fear of dying when we go out into the sea, we will have to ask the government for a state of emergency.