European government officials are denying a recent shipwreck in which about 400 Somali refugees purportedly drowned, according to Gawker.
Reports surfaced on Monday that referenced a BBC Arabic interview with the Somali ambassador to Egypt claiming hundreds of refugees drowned after their boats capsized between Egypt and Italy.
Despite the ambassador's claims, the Greek Coast Guard and the Italian and Maltese rescue coordination centers all denied any such incident occurred.
“There was no such incident off Greece. I think the information is incorrect,” a spokeswoman for the Greek Coast Guard said. “Whatever the case, this did not happen in Greek waters and nobody was rescued off a vessel with 400 to 500 people on board.”
Between seven and 24 survivors were allegedly rescued off the coast of Crete; however, it is unknown who rescued these people and where they were taken since officials aren’t admitting to the crisis.
The irony is that this particular incident was first reported on the anniversary of a terrible shipwreck that claimed the lives of nearly 850 refugees last year just outside of Libya.
According to the Migrant Report, several major news outlets including The Independent, Sky News, and the Daily Mail all reported on the incident but cited the same unconfirmed BBC Arabic interview.
While no further details have emerged and no official confirmation has been announced, the Italian foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni commented on the tragedy as if it were true.
“We are looking for more details and information but what is sure is that we are again with a tragedy in the Mediterranean, exactly one year after the tragedy we had … in Libyan waters,” he said.
“This is another strong reason for Europe to commit itself not to build walls but towards strengthening our commitment towards migration, especially towards Africa,” he added.
If the accident turns out to be true, it would certainly be an eerie coincidence that such a similar event would occur exactly one year after the Libya shipwreck.
It also seems quite bizarre that other officials would try to hide the incident and pretend like it never happened if it was simply a freak accident.
Italy’s government officials are working with the Egyptian authorities to obtain more details, according to the Migrant Report. They seem to be the only country involved trying to actually get to the bottom of this unexpected disaster.