From Reuters at the Times of Malta:
With migration across the Mediterranean surging, the European Union’s largest border operation is bracing for a record year of arrivals by sea, especially as summer brings calm waters between Italy and Libya.
Off the eastern coast of Sicily, the 18-member crew of the Icelandic coast guard vessel Tyr – named after a Nordic god of war – are conducting rescue drills in seas more familiar in Greek mythology, preparing for the worst.
Though the United Nations refugee agency has criticised the mission, known as Triton, because its mandate is not search and rescue but border control with patrols near the Italian coast, the EU border agency Frontex says it is saving lives.
“We participate in a lot of search and rescue operations that take place far from the Italian shore, usually about 40 nautical miles north of Libya,” Frontex spokeswoman Ewa Moncure told Reuters on the bridge of the Tyr yesterday.
About 170,000 entered the EU through Italy last year by way of the dangerous sea crossing organised by human traffickers, mostly in Libya, while more than 3,000 perished.
During the first two months of this year, arrivals were up 43 per cent versus the same period of 2014.
The governments of southern EU countries – including Italy, Malta, Greece and Spain – have repeatedly criticised the failure of the 28-nation bloc to devote more attention and resources to the growing immigration crisis. To increase solidarity, the European Commission has said it will present a “migration agenda” in May, when good weather is expected to boost the flow of migrants and refugees, many of whom are fleeing civil war in Syria or forced military conscription in Eritrea.
This might be a good time to read The Camp of the Saints as the 4-decades-old novel is now coming true. Author Raspail was only wrong on his prediction of where the invaders would launch from.