Here’s an exciting new way to treat people badly – offer them passage on a ship and then once the ship is well out into the sea…leave. What the hell, you have better things to do, right?
Italian authorities have taken control of a ship with 450 migrants, thought to be Syrian, that was abandoned by its crew off Italy’s coast.
The Italian coastguard said it was now being towed to an Italian port after a rescue team managed to board.
The Ezadeen, sailing under the flag of Sierra Leone, lost power in rough seas overnight off the south-east of Italy.
A total of 796 migrants were rescued from another ship found abandoned without any crew earlier in the week.
It’s the hot new trend.
The alarm was raised in a distress call from one of the migrants using the maritime radio on board, who told the Italian coastguard: “We’re without crew, we’re heading toward the Italian coast and we have no-one to steer.”
The Ezadeen was built nearly 50 years ago and is a livestock carrier. It appears to be registered to a Lebanese company and has come under the control of human traffickers.
That is, the traffickers borrowed it, and once it was in open waters, they returned it to its owners and went away to borrow another ship.
Analysis: Jonathan Josephs, BBC News
The Ezadeen is the latest uncrewed ship full of would-be migrants to be left to drift to its fate in the Mediterranean Sea.
People-traffickers appear to be behind the phenomenon and one source with close knowledge of the rescue operations is concerned that it “seems to be something of a new trend”.
Money for old rope. Borrow or rent a ship, stuff it with people, pocket the cash, nip back to shore in a speedboat.