After a week or so without any migrants arriving in Lampedusa, ten boats carrying approximately 500 persons arrived in Lampedusa and nearby Italian islands over a 24 hour period 1st-2nd March. Improved weather conditions are the most likely explanation for the new boat arrivals. Highlighting the difficulties of maritime surveillance, one of the migrant boats with 22 migrants landed on the island of Linosa, roughly halfway between Lampedusa and Malta, without being detected.
According to Interior Minister Roberto Maroni, to date 2,000 Tunisians have applied for some form of protection; less than 400 asylum requests have been made. According to Maroni, most of the Tunisians have expressed a desire to go to other European countries, generally France or Germany.
Maroni said that Italy’s agreement with Tunisia limits repatriation of Tunisians to four persons per day and Italy is therefore currently negotiating with Tunisia to increase the number of persons who may be repatriated. If the daily limit is not changed it would take years to return the thousands who have arrived in Italy.