Article first published on January 8, 2021


Abdallah Said, an immigrant minor from Somalia suffering from tuberculosis, died at the Cannizzaro hospital in Catania for encephalitis on 15 September 2020, after spending several days on the quarantine ship GNV Azzurra. His confinement on the ship, justified by the measures to contain the pandemic, took place in the absence of health care and respect of the right to health and life, as well as without the special protection he required as a child.

After the death of Bilal and Abou, Abdallah’s one is yet another crime against migrants, who are held in naval units during a pandemic. Quarantine ships are not the appropriate place to provide health care to children and adults, to prevent the spread of the pandemic, to ensure the protection of people’s rights, to address the needs of MSNA*, to identify the vulnerabilities of migrants.

We call for:

▶🔴#Truth and #justice for the death of Abdallah Said

▶🔴Immediate #demise of #quarantine #ships

▶🔴A dignified and safe #reception for migrants


– Emails have to be sent on 8 January at 12 separately to each e-mail address.

– The news of the mail bombing has to be spread about 2 hours before the event


Text to be sent to each e-mail address:


To the Interior Minister Dr. Luciana LAMORGESE

To the Head of the Department of Civil Liberties and Immigration of the Interior Ministry Prefect Michele DI BARI:

To the Minister of Transport and Infrastructures Paola DE MICHELI:  

To the Health Minister Roberto SPERANZA:  

To the Head of the Italian Red Cross Dr. Cecilia CRESCIOLI: 




Abdallah Said died on 15 September at the Cannizzaro Hospital in Catania. He was 17 years old. The emergency health measures to control Covid-19 (SARS- COV-2) ordered by the 12 April 2020 Decree of the Head of the Department of Civil Protection, led to Said being “confined” on the quarantine vessel GNV Azzurra for several days.

On paper, ships would be a suitable place for quarantine and health care after sea rescue. Abdallah Said was already seriously ill with tuberculosis. After several days on the ship Azzurra, he was urgently transferred to the Cannizzaro Hospital, where he died for encephalitis. We underline that, when it comes to ” tuberculosis”, in a situation of immune impairment (decrease of any kind of the immune system), the pathogen can actually result in tubercular meningitis with symptoms that can go from mild ones, such as asthenia, fever, apathy, until the state of paralysis and coma. In general, a person suffering from tuberculosis needs specific interventions that must be operated at suitable facilities, requiring examinations and treatments that cannot in any way be carried out inside a ship: x-rays to assess lungs’ involvement for example, or CT and MRI scans.

People arriving from the sea are always affected by an immunity defence decrease as well as by various kinds of diseases more or less serious that cannot always be evaluated on arrival, but that require suitable places for potential specific treatments or urgencies. In addition, those who arrive often suffered violence and torture in Libyan detention centers and have major physical-psychic traumas. We add that, according to several scientific articles and recommendations of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, ships basically represent the ultimate incubators for gastrointestinal diseases, and are not at all suitable for coronavirus quarantine, to the extent that landing and suspension of ship travels are ordered[1]. It is surprising then that they were chosen to carry out monitoring and confinement activities of a pathogen such as a virus, especially an RNA virus such as SARS-COV-2, in perfect antithesis to what is clearly explained by one of the major expert body of infectious diseases!

Dr. Davide Parenti from George Washington University’s Traveler’s Clinic and Professor of Medicine at the George Washington University’s School of Medicine and Health, in an interview with National Geographic states with regard to Covid: “It’s all about luck. If you are on a ship, and you have coronavirus, you are out of luck”. And not only, considering what happened to Abdallah Said who died on a quarantine ship, as well as to Aboudiakite, a 15-year-old Ivorian who lost his life at the Ingrassia hospital in Palermo on 5 October.

On the causes of the death of Abdallah Said, the first results of the autopsy requested by family members are expected on 7 January. Regardless of the outcome, we are convinced that, yet another crime was committed against Abdallah Said: he was not in a suitable place to be treated neither with respect to his pathology nor with respect to his minor age. Abdallah sought freedom, he thought he had reached a country where he no longer risked death, where he could not be imprisoned again and where he perhaps could achieve his dreams.

Abdallah instead found, right here in Italy, a new confinement, this time on a ship.

Abdallah died in Italy after surviving Libya and the sea and after who knows what terrible suffering. Abdallah died at 17 years old, alone.

We demand truth and justice for Abdallah Said and the immediate demise of all quarantine ships.


*MSNA: Minori stranieri non accompagnati – Unaccompanied foreign minors


Translated from Italian by Cristina Tosone