Lebanon's Megaphone releases documentary on tragic Tripoli boat wreck
A new documentary released on Tuesday by Lebanese media outlet Megaphone, in cooperation with the Cedar Center for Legal Studies and Febrayer Network Investigative Unit, digitally recreated the tragic 23 April 2022 Tripoli boat disaster, which left seven dead and 33 missing.
The ship was filled with Lebanese and Syrian migrants attempting to reach Italy, one of hundreds of similar journeys attempted by people desperate to leave Lebanon's four-year-long economic crisis.
By relying on survivors' testimonies and video footage, the consortium was able to animate the tragic boat sinking as it happened moment by moment.
The six survivors of the tragic shipwreck who participated in the report detailed how they were rammed twice by the Lebanese navy and were made to swim out to nearby boats rather than being rescued.
One survivor detailed how the navy retreated to a distance after ramming the migrant boat and watched as survivors desperately tried to escape the sinking craft.
Many of the casualties of the disaster were women and children, as they had been placed in the interior of the ship for the journey and were unable to escape when the craft began taking on water.
The Lebanese navy denied ramming the boat, instead saying that the boat crashed into one of three vessels that had gone out in an attempt to turn it back to Lebanon.
The navy had initially conducted its own investigation into the circumstances of the sinking but has since closed it without charging naval officers.
A submarine brought over by an Australian NGO took pictures of the sunken ship in September 2022 and concluded that there had been no damage to the front of the boat – where survivors had said the navy had hit them.
Families of the victims of the shipwreck rejected the findings of the Australian NGO and called for a more complete investigation of the navy's conduct.
Ships carrying migrants, often overloaded, undertake perilous journeys searching for better circumstances in nearby countries such as Italy and Cyprus.
Cyprus, in particular, has called for greater EU funding for Lebanon's navy to help stem the flow of migrants coming to the Mediterranean island.