Cutro Migrant Shipwreck: Crucial Documents Disclosed

A document reveals political interference in the Summer Love shipwreck and the Draghi administration's plan to alter Coast Guard and Financial Guard engagement.

Cutro Migrant Shipwreck: Crucial Documents Disclosed
Source: George Desipris. Pexels 2024.

18-04-2024

Innocenti Chiara

Human Rights and Europe Researcher,

Global Human Rights Defense

 

Cutro (Italy), April 14th – After a little more than a year since the vessel Summer Love sank in rough waters off the Italian village Steccato di Cutro, a document certifying political meddling, hence likely to settle the controversial case in the future, has emerged. The email in question harkens back to June 2022, eight months before the humanitarian disaster occurred, and was signed by the then-Captain of Crotone harbor office, Vittorio Aloi. The subject of the email showed itself as a commitment to those “new rules dictated at a political level” that Mr. Aloi, shortly after the tragedy, adduced in front of the mortuary chapel bemoaning the casualties found on Cutro beaches.

 

The late Draghi administration, with the document at issue, intended to change the scope of engagement and division of responsibilities between the Italian Coast Guard and the Financial Guard (Guardia di Finanza) eventually imposing severe restrictions on the scope of action of the former. The Coast Guard, that is to say, the sole body with adequate equipment and professionals, from this moment on would intervene just in those operations labeled as Search and Rescue (SAR), namely, in those operations featuring evident and proclaimed dangers, and would devolve the responsibility to the Guardia di Finanza in cases of different nature. On the night of February 25th, 2023, after the Frontex plane had intercepted the boat of migrants, the Italian authorities inside the Warsaw headquarters reported to the EU agency that the sighted vessel was not to be considered an emergency case, and allegedly for its “steady course”. A year into the dreadful shipwreck, the mystery is unraveled. The latest findings explained the reason why the patrol boats of the Coast Guard did not leave the harbor then, even if the Guardia di Finanza was abandoning the expedition due to a significant worsening of the weather. This case is a mixture of political interference and frivolous negligence that in the end, however, was worth the lives of 94 individuals.

 

It is the same old story repeating itself millions of times. This episode reignited an intense debate on migration that already existed, and that cost Italy an expensive defense before the European Court of Human Rights on countless occasions. However, the question crosses Italian borders involving Europe as a whole as it stresses a fragmentary and patchy migrant management system. Before treaties and conventions binding contracting states to action, refugees and migrants continue dying on our watch, deprived of the opportunity to avail themselves of the right to life, and asking for common and stricter rules to guarantee fair treatment.

 

Sources and further reading

 

Giuffrida, A. (February 27, 2023), “ ‘The beach is like a cemetery’: Italian village grapples with shipwreck aftermath”. The Guardian. Retrieved on 04-15-2024, at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/feb/27/italy-shipwreck-calabria-migration.

 

Info Migrants. (February 22, 2024), “Survivors return to Calabria one year after Cutro shipwreck”. ANSA. Retrieved on 04-15-2024, at: https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/55364/survivors-return-to-calabria-one-year-after-cutro-shipwreck.

 

Vasques, E. (January 30, 2024), “Italian authorities in the Frontex monitoring room in Warsaw assessed as ‘not of particular interest’ the sighting of the migrant boat which sank near Cutro in southern Italy last February, the Frontex incident report, obtained by Euractiv, shows”. Euractive. Retrieved on 04-15-2024, at:  https://www.euractiv.com/section/migration/news/cutro-italian-authorities-deemed-migrant-boat-not-of-interest-before-shipwreck/.

 

Ziniti, A. (April 14, 2024), “Cutro, ecco chi fermò la Guardia costiera. ‘Nuove regole dettate dal livello politico’”. Repubblica. Retrieved on 04-14-2024, at: https://www.repubblica.it/cronaca/2024/04/14/news/naufragio_cutro_guardia_costiera_inchiesta_mancati_soccorsi-422521101/.