According to tracking website MarineTraffic the ship abruptly changed direction south of Othonoi and started heading west towards Italy. Italian coast guard spokesman Filippo Marini said that Italy had averted a disaster by interrupting the programmed route that would have had the ship crash into the shore the AP news agency reported. It is common practice for human traffickers who organise the crossings to abandon the vessels at sea in order to avoid arrest. The service at St. From every people culture and religion let us join our forces" he said.
Last month Francis appealed to consumers to shun lowcost goods that may be the product of forced labour or other forms of exploitation. That message was sent to heads of state and governments international institutions and parishes throughout the 1. The Argentine pope has made defence of migrants and workers a central issue of his papacy. At a Vespers service on New Year's Eve he condemned administrators and criminals in Rome accused of pocketing public funds meant to help poor migrants urging a "spiritual and moral renewal".
The second global slavery index released in November by the Walk Free Foundation an Australianbased human rights group estimated that almost 36 million people were living as slaves trafficked into brothels forced into manual labour victims of debt bondage or born into servitude. After Mass the pope delivered his traditional New Year's Day noon address to tens of thousands of people most of whom took part in peace marches to the Vatican.
Let us pray for peace" he told the crowd of people carrying balloons and banners with peace slogans. A ship carrying hundreds of migrants has been abandoned by its crew in rough seas in the Mediterranean off Italy's south coast in the second such incident in three days the Italian coastguard said today. Coastguards managed to take control of the vessel the Sierra Leoneflagged Ezadeen after landing on it by helicopter a statement said. Facing difficult weather conditions they are trying to take the vessel to an Italian port.
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The cargo ship had been drifting powerless after running out of fuel about 40 miles from Italy's southern coast with as many as people on board. The ship was built almost 50 years ago to carry livestock a website tracking maritime movements said. The nationality of the migrants was not yet known a coastguard spokesman said but there are women and children on board. It is the third such migrant ship in the past two weeks as smugglers turn to abandoning old ships in a shift in tactics.
On Wednesday about migrants mostly Syrian refugees arrived in Italy after they were apparently abandoned by their ship's crew and set on a crash course for the Italian coast. The coastguard also boarded that vessel and took over navigation. Civil war in Syria and anarchy in Libya swelled the number of people crossing the Mediterranean last year. The United Nations refugee agency says seaborne migrants arrived in Italy by November and a further in Greece.
Thousands more have died attempting the journey.
Smugglers have changed tactics because Italy has ended its Mare Nostrum maritime search and rescue mission which makes a crossing in a small boat more risky and due to increased fighting in Libya Carlotta Sami a spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency told Reuters. Smugglers set autopilot course in international waters and jump onto a smaller vessel to escape she said. Human rights groups warned that closing the mission would endanger more lives. The Ezadeen sailing under the flag of Sierra Leone has no crew on board and has lost power in rough seas off the southeast of Italy.
The Italian coast guard says a merchant ship with at least migrants on board is heading for the Italian coast. The Icelandic coast guard confirmed to the BBC that one of its vessels was assisting in efforts to board the ship. The Icelandic coast guard vessel Tyr is patrolling off the Italian coast as part of the EU Frontex border control mission. Almost migrants were rescued from another ship found abandoned without any crew earlier in the week.
The Icelandic coast guard told the BBC that high seas and bad weather were making it difficult to board the 73metre Ezadeen which is 65km off the southeastern tip of Italy. The Ezadeen was built nearly 50 years ago and is a livestock carrier. The alarm was raised in a distress call from one of the migrants who managed to operate the maritime radio on board the Ezadeen according to the Italian coast guard: "We're without crew we're heading toward the Italian coast and we have noone to steer.
Photo: Reuters Pope Francis urged people of all religions and cultures yesterday to unite to fight modern slavery and human trafficking saying in his first Mass of that everyone had a Godgiven right to be free. All of us are called by God to be free all are called to be sons and daughters and each according to his or her own responsibilities is called to combat modern forms of enslavement.
From every people culture and religion let us join our forces he said.
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Last month Pope Francis appealed to consumers to shun lowcost goods that may be the product of forced labour or other forms of exploitation. The Argentine Pope has made defence of migrants and workers a central issue of his papacy.
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All of us are called by God to be free each is called to combat modern forms of enslavement The second global slavery index released in November by the Walk Free Foundation an Australianbased human rights group estimated that almost 36 million people were living as slaves trafficked into brothels forced into manual labour victims of debt bondage or born into servitude. Peace is always possible but we have to seek it.
Let us pray for peace he told the crowd of people carrying balloons and banners with peace slogans. He denounced situations where the poor were made to feel like criminals and forced to behave like mafiosi to defend themselves. The Italian media have dubbed the investigation which is continuing Mafia Capital. Investigators said funds were pocketed by corrupt city administrators and their criminal cohorts instead of being used to improve squalid conditions.
Pope Francis is also the bishop of Rome. Pope Francis said: We have to defend the poor not defend ourselves from the poor. We have to serve the weak not use the weak. In the current scandal prosecution documents include transcripts of phone wiretaps that showed how those who won contracts often profited from serious social problems. Have you got any idea how much you can make out of immigrants? Drug trafficking brings in less. Italian firefighters and investigators have boarded the charred Norman Atlantic ferry as they try to find out what caused the deadly blaze and search for more possible bodies.
The badly damaged ferry was towed across the choppy Adriatic Sea for 17 hours before it docked at the southern Italian port of Brindisi. Despite the fact that a slow combustion fire was still burning on the ferry officials deemed it safe enough for investigators to go aboard wearing gas masks against the smoke.
Brindisi Fire Commander Michele Angiuli told reporters it was too soon to know if investigators would find more bodies. The fire that broke out on Sunday as the ferry travelled from Greece to Italy killed at least 11 people. Italy says passengers and crew were rescued most by helicopters that plucked them off in galeforce winds and carried them to nearby boats. Greece says 19 people are still unaccounted for and disputes Italian claims of a much higher number of missing.
Both fear the car deck where the fire started could contain more bodies possibly those of unregistered migrants trying to slip into Italy. Investigators began their work by taking photos and video of the smoky interior. Brindisi port Captain Mario Valente said they would be looking for data recorders as well. One side of the ferry was blackened by smoke and an acrid smell was noticeable dockside. The firefighters will not start searching for bodies until the blaze is fully extinguished.
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Meanwhile four more people were put under investigation by the prosecutor's office in Bari. In addition to the ship's captain and the head of the company that built the ferry both Italians two other crew members and two representatives of the Greek ferry line Anek which rented the Norman Atlantic are under investigation the Italian news agency Ansa reported. Italian newspapers reportedly quoting from transcripts of the captain's questioning said Captain Argilio Giacomazzi told prosecutors that crews did not properly follow his orders in lowering the lifeboats and that the car deck had too many vehicles.
Italian TV reports said passengers claimed five crewmen were in the only lifeboat launched in apparent violation of rules that say only three crew members should go with the evacuated passengers. Italy says it rescued or discovered migrants and asylum seekers at sea last year as they tried to slip into Europe. Frontex says that migrant smugglers have learned to time the departure of ships so that they cross the paths of merchant ships who would then be obliged to rescue the migrants as per international maritime law Smugglers are frequently making use of old freighters and cargo vessels to transport larger numbers of migrants to Europe EU agency Frontex warned while adding that most of these ships are obtained in southeastern Turkey.
Italian authorities this week rescued around migrants from the Moldovanflagged Blue Sky M cargo ship after its crew believed to be human traffickers had abandoned it and left it heading towards Italy on autopilot. Italian authorities also said that a second merchant ship carrying at least migrants is heading towards the Italian coast.
In a rapid adaptation of strategy that has become their hallmark the smugglers have started using much larger boats Frontex said in a statement. These are typically decommissioned freighters up to 75 meters long procured in the ports of southeastern Turkey notably Mersin: a departure point still connected by ferry to the Syrian port of Latakia making it reachable for the tens of thousands of Syrians still fleeing the conflict in their country. The freighters repaired and manned by crews sometimes hired from as far away as Russia are piloted via Cyprus and Crete towards Italy which remains the EU destination of choice for refugees from the Middle East.
Frontex also warned that smugglers have learned to time the departure of migrant boats so that they cross the paths of merchant ships heading for Europe. When the migrants issue a distress call the nearby merchant ships would be obliged by international maritime law to rescue them and disembark them at the nearest port of call.
Travelling from Turkey not only circumvents the considerable danger of capsizing in a small boat in rough seas but it also avoids having to go to Libya Frontex said. This increasingly lawless North African nation appears to have become too dangerous an operating environment even for the criminal gangs. However Frontex warned that the engines of the old ships used by smugglers operating on the Turkey route are often highly unreliable.
In the last six weeks alone one freighter has been found drifting near Cyprus; another was rescued 30 miles off Crete; still others off the Italian coast Frontex said. The effect is to make the boat electronically invisible to the Italian search and rescue authorities — a stratagem that buys time for the smuggling crew to escape by fast launch and thus avoid arrest. Since the launch of the Frontexcoordinated Operation Triton in the central Mediterranean on 1 November around migrants have been rescued around of them in situations classified as distressed in 77 separate searchandrescue operations.
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Although significantly smaller than the number recorded during the August peak — when some migrants were detected on this route — this level of traffic is still unprecedented for wintertime Frontex said. Sierra Leoneflagged Ezadeen carrying hundreds of migrants being towed by the Italian coastguard vessel Tyr in rough seas yesterday.
It had been put on a collision course for the Italian coast before running out of fuel he said.
Two weeks ago the Italian navy went to the aid of an abandoned cargo ship carrying migrants disembarking them at a port in Sicily. We have seen increasing use of old cargo ships ready to be dismantled [to smuggle migrants] over the past two months she said. The cargo ships are usually carrying mostly Syrian refugees she said but also others including some fleeing fighting in Iraq. Smugglers set autopilot course in international waters and jump on to a smaller vessel to escape she said.
Firefighters standing on a ladder to inspect the Norman Atlantic multideck carandtruck ferry docked at Brindisi harbour yesterday. Photo: Reuters Tug boats hauled the burntout hulk of the ferry that caught fire on Sunday off the coast of Greece into a southern Italian port yesterday opening the way for an investigation into the cause of the blaze that killed at least 11 people. Listing visibly to starboard the Norman Atlantic multideck carandtruck ferry docked in the port of Brindisi in the early afternoon still smouldering. The fire broke out on one of the lower garage levels and left the vessel drifting without power in stormy seas.