By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli, 9 February 2015:
Rescue by the Italians for 105 migrants drifting in a rubber raft in eight metre-high . . .[restrict]icy seas did not mean safety. At least 29 of them died of cold on the open decks of the two small naval patrol boats which took 18 hours to bring them to Lampedusa.
The tragedy on Sunday has caused anger among human rights groups. They say Italy should never have abandoned its Mare Nostrum search and rescue patrols with bigger vessels that could have accommodated a large number of rescued migrants. On Sunday only a few of the rescued was able to shelter below decks. The rest had to stay in the open air in sodden clothing and icy winds.
The cash-strapped government of Italian premier Matteo Renzi saved €114 million when it dropped the Mare Nostrum patrols. They were replaced by an EU border force called Triton which has fewer and smaller vessels. [/restrict]