Mistral Express: Corvette Spica bars port entry

Augusta - For the time being remain outside Italian territorial waters from the ferry left from Libya on Sunday afternoon, with over a thousand and 800 people on board, and directed at Augusta. The ship, flying the flag of Morocco, had asked last night to the port authorities of the city Megarian permission berth for refueling, but corvette MM Spica P403 had radioed the captain not to enter the territorial waters .

The Interior Ministry has in fact asked the Defense Ministry to avoid the first approach to clarify the persons on board and on their intentions. The ship Mistral Express "(pictured), is playing in the early afternoon yesterday in Tripoli, carrying 1,836 immigrants, as well as 83 crew members.

According to information provided by officers of the same ferry, it would be of 1,715 Moroccans, 39 Libyans, 35 Algerians, 26 Egyptians, seven Tunisians, Malians 6, four Sudanese and Mauritanians 2. It would have been the Moroccan government to lease the ship to return home to their compatriots fleeing from Libya, but in reality it is not clear what the real intentions of the immigrants on board.

For this reason, the Coast Guard patrol boats of Augusta, Catania and Syracuse are all on alert.
The Mistral Express ferry that sailed from western Libya is now approximately 150 miles from the port of Augusta on Sicily's east coast.

It was blocked from sailing closer into Italian waters on the orders of the Italian interior ministry, officials said, while they found out who was on board and what their intentions were.

The boat was said to have been chartered by the passengers who had been working in Libya at the time of the revolt against Col Gaddafi. here

Ship Type: Passenger
Year Built: 1981
Length x Breadth: 144 m X 22 m
DeadWeight: 2295 t
Speed recorded (Max / Average): 21.7 / 21.6 knots
Flag: Morocco [MA]
Call Sign: CNA4026
IMO: 7915101, MMSI: 242582000

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