23 September 2014

Foreign MEPs areseeking answerson Lampedusatragedy

 - Sunday, 26 January 2014, 11:00

by Neil Camilleri

PN MEP says government refusal to answer questions is “shameful”

A number of foreign MEPs want to find out the truth about the 11 October Lampedusa tragedy but are unable to do so because the Maltese government is refusing to answer questions by journalists and politicians, PN MEP Roberta Metsola told The Malta Independent on Sunday.

Speaking during an interview that will be published tomorrow, the PN MEP and EP elections candidate said that she had even asked the government for answers herself, but like journalists, she is being stonewalled.

“I put an official question to the Maltese government and asked for a clarification on what happened on 11 October but I did not get an answer. We need to know the truth about this tragedy. It is unacceptable that a government refuses to answer journalists and democratically elected persons like me about what happened on that day.”

Ms Metsola said that several members of the European Parliament have been raising questions on the issue. “There are a number of foreign MEPs who are asking me for details and information and it is shameful that I cannot give them an answer.”

The PN MEP agreed that the government should also launch an inquiry into the tragedy. “If there are doubts on what happened and who was responsible for coordinating or taking part in the rescue mission then yes, there should be an inquiry.


Incident remains shrouded in mystery

Throughout these past weeks, The Malta Independent on Sunday has been reporting on the tragedy that cost the lives of 270 Syrian men, women and children. Serious doubts about Malta’s rescue procedure have come to light after testimonies by several survivors indicated that Malta and Italy had bickered over the issue and failed to take the right decisions.

The timeline of events seems to show that Italy wasted time to allow the migrant boat ─ that was slowly sinking ─ to enter Maltese SAR waters, so that Malta would have to take the difficult decisions. But after taking charge of the operation at 1pm, Malta seems to have failed to ask a number of Italian vessels to help, despite the fact that they were close to the migrant boat. The Maltese Rescue Coordination Centre could have asked Italian warships, coast guard and Guardia di Finanza vessels, as well as two merchant ships to rescue the migrants, but for some reason no such order was issued. The boat sank more than four hours later, at 5.07pm, by which time no vessel had reached the area. Malta only asked for Italy’s help after the boat capsized and sank.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had indicated in a TV interview that he felt the need to “ignore the rules and save the migrants and bring them to Malta”. This was considered by Italian politicians as a clear message that, according to Dr Muscat, it was not Malta’s duty to save the migrants. The issue has since ended up in the Italian Parliament where the Italian government insisted that Malta was responsible for the rescue and failed to call for help from Italy. Several Members of Parliament have also called for an inquiry.

The government and the Maltese armed forces have refused to say what happened but insist they have documentation that exonerates them. The documentation will not be published. In the meantime, the alleged human trafficker and captain of the migrant boat, Palestinian Attour Abdalmemen, will face trial in Palermo on 3 February. It is thought that more details could emerge during the trial.

The full interview with Roberta Metsola will be published on Monday. 


Post Comment
Daniel Frendo says:
26 January 2014 17:57

After reading news stories like this, I always wonder why nobody ever even so much as bat an eyelid for the precarious situation that the Italian citizens of Lampedusa have been forced into by politicians who keep on encouraging the arrival of African immigrants. Lampedusa has been robbed of its lucrative tourist industry. Let's express solidarity with those who have lost their livelihood!

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Louise Vella says:
26 January 2014 12:31

I think it is shameful that Dr Metsola takes every opportunity to put forward the case of illegal immigrants without paying any attention to the will of the Maltese people.

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Corinne Vella says:
26 January 2014 12:22

A government refusing to answer questions is wicked, Mr Mifsud. Asking questions is not.

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Wilfred Camilleri says:
26 January 2014 23:54

So according to you the will of the Maltese people is to let 270 people die? What a pathetic human being you are!

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Corinne Vella says:
27 January 2014 08:29

You're addressing the wrong person. i said no such thing.

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Max Santorelli says:
26 January 2014 11:41

Sleeping with the enemy as usual. True Maltese should note vote for her and her buddy Casa.

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Anthony Mifsud says:
26 January 2014 11:38

Who is this MEP.?
One day she get an answer , therefore relax and sit back as your answers will be addressed very soon come May you will be packing
I hope that answers your wicked questions

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Joe Martinelli says:
26 January 2014 14:42

Who is this MEP, you ask, Ninu?
This is the MEP who with David Casa helped 194 Socialists - your government's friends - to vote with her side in the 22-560 rout in Strasbourg in a vote of no confidence in Joseph and his IIP scam.
Yes, this is the MEP who has nothing to hide and seeks justice in the 270 needless drowning of Syrian men, women and children.
And, Max, Roberta has no enemies to sleep with, neither in Italy nor in Strasbourg. If she intended to sleep with enemies, she would find them much closer.
The pity is that you two are so comfortable allowing two bit politicians of yesterday wash your brain so thoroughly, you can no longer distinguish right from wrong.
If the government has nothing to hide and the AFM have documentation to prove it did everything as it should, then why does it take the EU or the courts to have such details revealed? Or are the two buying time so that a spun story can be completed, touched up to make it appear that Joey's government (him) is blameless? Now it's Joseph's turn to run?

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alfred aquilina says:
26 January 2014 20:42


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Anthony Mifsud says:
27 January 2014 06:29

Martinelli, it looks to me that youre being served a hot meal with all this trush comments that you post..
I imagine  that one should take notes of such accusations being made its simply one cannot trow mud and hide
Who will back her up now? may be you in Stasburg, as I cant see that Casa doing anything better

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Joe Martinelli says:
28 January 2014 21:28

What? You forgot dessert? Tsk, tsk! Metsola has her job to do, Dave has his,
Metsola and Casa somehow miraculously convinced 558 MEPsto vote with them and 4 Labour MEPs convinced TWO Socialist friends to vote on their side!  What does that tell you, Anthony? Now go cry.
You and yours can keep tabs on all that is said here and in STRASBOURG because one cannot be throwing mud if trying to explain the TRUTH. Too bad for those who plug their ears.

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Anthony Mifsud says:
27 January 2014 22:19

Why don't this lady investigate the accident that caused the death of an elderly person while fishing in port at Tigne / Marsamxett
This poor person was rammed by a bigger boat .....and nobody seems to take up wieght ..?
Why ? What's the cover? Who was on the bigger boat? Who was the skipper? Why no charges were passed?
There s a challange in this case
Start rolling the stones Martinelli

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Joe Martinelli says:
28 January 2014 14:49

Ninu, you, like (nearly) all Lejburisti cannot even distinguish that which is the SOLE responsibility of the local authorities and that which is the joint responsibility of Malta and the EU. Unless you somehow wake up from your drunkenness, then it is futile to explain, but I will have one final try with you.
MEP Roberta Metsola is not the Commissioner of Police and it is not in her competence to complain to the EU about an unfortunate accident which happened a few hundred yards offshore. Is she expected to take any action against the police for not laying charges? Maybe another file was 'closed' as was Dalli's?
But the selling of EU passports is very much her and her 560 colleagues concern, since such passports and citizenhips are NOT THE SOLE PROPERTY OF JOEY AND HIS JOKERS! Malta tells Joey, the Opposition tells Joey, the EU tells Joey, the world Press tells Joey but dunderhead Joey presses on.
Superman against 27 countries. We shall see, but mark my words, if he retreats a bit and somehow legitimizes his scam, he will say that Reding 'understood him' and that he 'did it for the national interest' and not because the revision of the scam consisted of what the Opposition had been proposing from day one.
Go figure him out! Even his close 'yes men' cannot.

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