The Address | Benghazi – Libya
ROME – According to the latest UN data, the rate of death or disappearance on the Central Mediterranean maritime migration route rose to nearly one in five last month, the highest level since accurate recordkeeping began. In September, about eight people died or went missing on the route daily, the Maritime Executive reported.
Researchers with Italian think tank ISPI believe that the sudden spike is linked to the policies of Italy’s anti-immigration interior minister, Matteo Salvini. Salvini has blocked most vessels with rescued migrants aboard from calling at Italian ports, thereby cutting down arrivals by half relative to the levels seen under his predecessor’s administration, according to the Newspaper.
Salvini’s policies have also virtually eliminated the NGO-operated SAR vessels that were once common off Libya’s coastline. In lieiu of NGO patrols, the Libyan Coast Guard has taken over responsibility for rescuing migrants in a wide swath of international waters of the Central Mediterranean, as reported.