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Italy Sees 1,200 Illegal Migrant Arrivals Over the Weekend as Mediterranean Crossings Surge by Robert Semonsen

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Italy Sees 1,200 Illegal Migrant Arrivals Over the Weekend as Mediterranean Crossings Surge

In what has become part and parcel of Italy’s summer months over the past several years, well over a thousand undocumented foreigners—enticed to make the perilous cross-Mediterranean journey by the presence of migrant transport NGO vessels—landed on Italian shores over the weekend.

In total, Saturday saw some 1,2000 illegal migrants disembark onto Italian soil. While 674 migrants who had been in a fishing vessel sitting approximately 200 kilometers off of the Calabrian coast were picked up by the coast guard, 15 smaller boats carrying 522 people—most of whom were nationals from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Somalia—were picked up by various NGO migrant transport vessels, InfoMigrants reports.

The migrants are said to have originally departed from Libya and Tunisia before being intercepted and brought to ports in Calabria, Sicily, and Lampedusa. Tragically, Italian authorities discovered five bodies in a rubber dinghy a couple hundred kilometers off the coast of Calabria.

The migrant NGO transport vessels Ocean Viking and Sea-Watch, both of which have been accused of aiding human traffickers and repeatedly breaking EU laws, were instrumental in bringing many of the undocumented foreigners to Italian soil. Photos from the day’s events suggest most of those migrants were young men.

According to figures from the Italian Interior Ministry, over 34,000 migrants have successfully made their way to Italy via the infamous Central Mediterranean migratory route so far this year, up from 25,000 during the same period last year and 10,900 in 2020.

The Central Mediterranean route was the most traveled path to Europe in 2021 for the second year in a row, with the EU border agency Frontex detecting 67,724 migrants along this route—an increase of 90% compared to the previous year. 

Frontex reported earlier this month that illegal entries into the European Union during the first half of 2022 jumped by 84% compared to last year, with the most dramatic increase having been recorded along the Western Balkan Route, where detections rose by 300%.

The surge in illegal migration comes as Italy’s former liberal-globalist government, led by former European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi, is set to be replaced by a national-conservative coalition led by Giorgia Meloni in the months ahead. Meloni has promised to finally put a stop to unrelenting waves of illegal migration that have continually flooded Italy during Draghi’s rule. 

Robert Semonsen is a political journalist based in Central Europe. His work has been featured in various English-language news outlets in Europe and the Americas. He has an educational background in biological and medical science. His Twitter handle is @R_Semonsen.