On October 31, 2014 Italy ended “Mare Nostrum” — a year long naval mission aimed at rescuing would-be migrants in peril trying to cross the Mediterranean into Europe.
During its existence the Italian Navy estimated that they saved the lives of 100,000 people, though the operation was deemed expensive and in direct opposition to Europe’s anti-migrant policies.
Experts and human rights advocates told The New York Times that stopping program — which cost $US10 million a month — was a huge mistake.
Mare Nostrum has been replaced by the cheaper “Operation Triton” under the command of the EU’s border patrol agency Frontex. With just six ships and patrol boats, two planes, and one helicopter, Triton’s goal isn’t so much rescuing migrants as it is protecting Europe’s borders from them.
The following map shows exactly how the EU has failed the migrants risking their lives to seek a better life in Europe. Mare Nostrum (in red) simply had greater reach where it is needed most.
It should be no surprise then that some 1800 people have died so far in 2015 crossing the Mediterranean from Africa to Europe, compared to just 56 deaths at the same time last year. And as geopolitical expert Ian Bremmer notes, “peak migration season (typically May through September) hasn’t yet begun.”
The International Organisation on Migration (IOM) has warned that, based on current figures, the migrant death toll on the Mediterranean this year could top 30,000.
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