Seven migrant boats from Libya carrying over 1500 migrants arrived in Lampedusa over a 12 hour period Friday night to Saturday. The large number of arrivals follows an 11 day period when there where no arrivals on Lampedusa. Improved sea conditions are again believed to be the main explanation for the timing of arrivals.
According to Maltese news reports, NATO Headquarters in Naples informed Maltese SAR authorities that a helicopter operating from a NATO vessel had sighted several of the migrant boats sailing north from Libya and search operations for the migrants boats were begun as a result.
It would be helpful if NATO’s press office would include information on NATO’s search and rescue activities and sightings of migrant boats in its daily Unified Protector Operational Media Update. The Update already includes a daily tally of NATO air operations (sorties and strike sorties), hits, maritime arms embargo activities (hailings, boardings, interdictions), and humanitarian assistance movements.