I have always wondered what it would be like to travel by sea. I have this vision of a journey by ship, nesting in your cute little cabin while looking out the porthole at the waters as you bob along to the final destination.
Sea transportation has been in the news a lot lately and it has not been all good news. First of all, a ship which started its outward journey from Libya with destination - Italy was rescued on the Mediterranean. When the passengers embarked, the Italian authorities were informed that some passengers (Christians of Nigerian and Ghanaian descent ) had been thrown off the ship and into the water by their fellow passengers (of muslim faith) following a verbal altercation about religion. The number of persons thrown off the ship in the altercation was rumoured to be about 12. No details have emerged of the names of the deceased - it is not known if they were properly documented prior to the start of their sojourn.
|Photo Credit: AFP Photo/MOAS|
Less than 48 hours ago, another mishap has occurred at sea. A
dingy 'boat' purportedly carrying about 700 potential migrants capsized and emptied its human 'load' in to the belly of the sea. The boat was in distress and reportedly sent an SOS to the Italian coastguards who in turn asked a passing ship to go to the distressed boat's aid. The passengers on the boat on sighting the ship tried to catch its attention and it capsized churning everyone inside it into the cold freezing waters. 28 people were rescued alive and 24 bodies recovered. The search for the remaining 648 missing passengers (who had hopes for a 'better tomorrow') is still ongoing. Authorities are no longer looking for survivors but seeking to recover dead bodies.
Which brings me to my question - why do people attempt to undertake this dangerous crossing from Libya to Italy year in year out? The figures show that over 3500 died last year while attempting this crossing. The cost of this crossing is purportedly about 7 - 8 thousand euros per person. It got me thinking - if as a potential migrant, you have that huge amount of money, why not use it to start up gainful business? Why throw it to the wolves masquerading as travel agents and loose your life in the process?
African nations need to educate their populace about the hazards of illegal migration by sea. Education is key. To anyone intending to cross over to Italy/Europe by Sea - it is not worth the trouble. The dangers are untold - death by drowning being one of the most prominent hazards. Other hazards include being attacked by miscreants, being killed by
armed robbers pirates, being killed even by the travel agents criminal gangs whom you have handed your hard earned money to if they feel you are a threat or question their modus operandi. Stop risking your lives!! Stay back in your countries and start something meaningful no matter how small!