Wednesday, 15 September 2010
UPDATE: Libya issues apology for shooting at fishing boat
Libya has issued an official apology for opening fire on an Italian fishing boat. None of its 10 crew members were injured, and the boat returned safely to Sicily on Sunday 12th September. A number of Italian ministers have expressed their concern about the incident, deeming it “serious”, but said that it would not affect relations between the two countries.
It has emerged that several Italian officials were on board the Libyan patrol boat, assisting their Libyan counterparts with technological support. According to Italy's Interior Minister Roberto Maroni the incident, “should not have happened," and was a mere misunderstanding.
"I imagine they mistook the fishing boat for a ship carrying illegal immigrants, but we will check what happened with an investigation," he added.
However, captain of the Italian fishing boat Gaspare Marrone told the Corriere della Sera newspaper that it was "clear" that the crew were fishermen, dismissing any idea of a misunderstanding. He also added that Libyan naval patrol had tried to stop the boat and then pursued it, firing every 20 minutes.
"They shot to hit us and they could have killed us. We all lay down hoping we wouldn't be hit," said Marrone.
Italy's Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said that the Libyan naval patrol crew had been told to fire into the air, but the bullets had still somehow hit the fishing boat, before adding that the Italian boat was fishing near the Libyan coast illegally.
Source: BBC News
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