The Oloferne at the gates of Fortress Europe!

After a
short crossing from Tunisia, Oloferne arrived at the port of Lampedusa

This Sunday, July 15, 2012 at midnight, the Oloferne left Tunisia to
Lampedusa with a new team on board. The crossing was an opportunity for
self-study and discussions on legal and technical aspects of sea rescue and repression
of migration in the Sicilian Channel.

As described in many accounts of migrants gathered by Boats 4 People, we
were overflown by aircrafts patrols while coming close to the Italian coast.

The Oloferne was flown at 9:41 am at position 35° 44′ 028 N – 11° 38′ 204 E
and then at 11:17 am at position 35° 37′ 824 N – 12° 01′ 546 E, both times at
an altitude between 100 and 200 meters. We also spotted some large boats, with
no tags AIS (Automatic Identification System). This system is compulsory for instant
location of large vessels (see, which
suggests that this would be military ships, but we cannot confirm it. A fast
boat of Italian Coast Guard then went close to us about two hours before we
arrived in Lampedusa at position 35 ° 32’277N – 12 ° 21’291E.

The importance of this control system show the truthfulness of statements
made by migrants who claim to have been flown by recognition aircrafts on the
edge of Italy. It also shows once again that the European authorities and their
agents have the necessary means to identify shipwrecks and rescue migrants.

The cheers of activists of Askavusa and international activists welcomed
the Oloferne when the boat arrived safely to its final stage in Lampedusa
harbour. Teams of journalists, lawyers and activists are now collecting information in different places of the island.

On July 19, from 12 am to 1 pm will take place the projections of two short
videos and a presentation of the Boats4People’s project at the former
registration office near Piazza Castello (Castle square), in via Roma (Rome

The same day at 4 pm we invite you to a press conference aboard the
Oloferne, in the port of Lampedusa under the office of the Coast Guard, with
speeches by Carmen Cordaro (Lawyer and Member of ARCI), of Albert Chaïbou
(alternative reporter and member of Alternative Espaces Citoyen – Niger),
Lorenzo Pezzani (co-founder of the platform Watch the Med in the project Boats
4 People) and the organization Askavusa. The press conference will be followed
by efforts to commemorate the dead and missing at sea to be held at the door of
Europe with the intervention of the mayor and representatives of associations.

On this occasion, works on the theme of migration, performed by the
collective of artists Tunisian Ahle El Kahf will be donated to the organization
Askavusa as a symbol of solidarity with the boat people between the two banks
of the Mediterranean and to represent the bridge between the end of
Boats4People’s action in 2012 and the continuity of the project by local
organizations, including through the launch of Lampedusa Infestival.

Press contacts:

Carmen Cordaro (Italiano) : +39 33 88 64
02 13

Pezzani (Italiano) : +39 34 07 75
13 03

Nicanor Haon
(Français / Español / English) : +39 32 82 93 71 98