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WATCH: Smugglers Tow Seemingly Empty Wooden Boat Towards Maltese Waters Before Leaving Migrants Behind In High Seas

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Mother boat

Wait, wait. Why is that fishing trawler towing an empty wooden boat at high seas??? Frontex experts who spotted it from the air had a pretty good idea why. And sure enough, after a few hours a steady stream of people emerged from below the deck of the fishing trawler and got onto the smaller boat.When 80 people squeezed onto it, the fishing trawler quickly pulled away. The migrant ship then started to slowly head toward the Italian island of Lampedusa.This was clearly a case of a “mother boat” used by criminals to carry a large group of migrants across the sea towards their destination before unloading them onto a smaller boat.A Frontex plane and drone kept observing the fishing trawler and the boat with migrants over several hours, alerting Italian and Maltese authorities, as well as EUNAVFOR Med. The Italian National Coordination Centre initiated a complex operation that involved Italian Guardia di Finanza and Guardia Costiera. They caught up with the bigger vessel and arrested the suspected people smugglers. The migrant boat was intercepted in the Italian waters.The Italian authorities are investigating the case.

Posted by Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency on Friday, June 21, 2019

Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, has released a video showing smugglers attempting to ferry an alleged 81 migrants towards European waters.

Italian authorities have since detained seven crew members of the fishing vessel that was captured in the video, which is among the first modern footage to show some of the methods smugglers use to transport desperate people across the Mediterranean.

“Wait, wait. Why is that fishing trawler towing an empty wooden boat at high seas?” Frontex said alongside the video posted to social media on Saturday.

“Frontex experts who spotted it from the air had a pretty good idea why,” Frontex continued. “And sure enough, after a few hours, a steady stream of people emerged from below the deck of the fishing trawler and got onto the smaller boat. When 80 people squeezed onto it, the fishing trawler quickly pulled away. The migrant ship then started to slowly head toward the Italian island of Lampedusa.”

“This was clearly a case of a ‘mother boat’ used by criminals to carry a large group of migrants across the sea towards their destination before unloading them onto a smaller boat.”

Frontex followed the vessel for hours until the hidden migrants finally emerged

“A Frontex plane and drone kept observing the fishing trawler and the boat with migrants over several hours, alerting Italian and Maltese authorities, as well as EUNAVFOR Med,” the agency explained. “The Italian National Coordination Centre initiated a complex operation that involved Italian Guardia di Finanza and Guardia Costiera. They caught up with the bigger vessel and arrested the suspected people smugglers. The migrant boat was intercepted in Italian waters.”

The vessel was spotted about 100 kilometres south of Lampedusa, a popular first-stop for many migrants heading towards Europe.

Frontex said the fishing trawler had attempted to transfer 81 migrants onto the smaller vessel. The trawler had left from Libya, and an Italian patrol boat caught up with it and intercepted it before it could re-dock back in Libya.

The migrants were reportedly left without any supplies, including water, and were taken to Lampedusa for treatment and processing.

As reported by Euronews, the fishing boat’s seven crew members were detained by Italian authorities

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