Migrant victims of wrecked trawler given burial

Italian Prime Minister renews commitment to remove migrant bodies from sunken boat and have them buried

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has re-confirmed his promise to remove all the dead bodies of migrants from a trawler wrecked in April and give them a proper burial.

The boat sank off the north of the Libyan coast on April 19 nearly 800 migrants were travelling on it and only 28 of them survived.

When the boat was located by the Italian Navy, investigators found bodies all over the wreckage.

Prime Minister Renzi said that “when this boat capsised and sank, we committed ourselves to go and check if there really were as many bodies as the survivors said."

"I made this commitment and I would like to confirm it once again," Renzi added.

"We will bring this boat to the surface and we will give a grave to these men and to these women, to these sisters and these brothers."

Recently, Italian officers managed to take 24 bodies and bury them in Malta. Two of the 28 survivors were suspected of being the captain and the second-in-command of the boat.

Italy, which is leading the rescue operations in the Mediterranean, is struggling to cope with the migrant influx.

On Saturday, the Italian coast guard confirmed that from Friday to Saturday, 4,200 migrants, including women and children, were rescued in the Mediterranean Sea and have reached the southern coasts of Taranto, Italy.

The United Nations refugee agency estimated that close to 40,000 people arrived on Italian shores between the start of the year and May.

Over 1,850 people have died in deadly attempts to reach Europe by sea.

A recent draft document  was released by the European Union which recommends distributing 40,000 migrants across EU countries to share the burden on Italy and Greece, according to the Associated Press (AP).

The European Union has also approved a naval mission intended to use military force to stop boats and human traffickers smuggling people into Europe.

The naval mission was agreed upon by EU foreign and defence ministers on May 18 and is expected to start in June. It aims to destroy the boats owned by smugglers carrying migrants to Europe.

TRTWorld and agencies