Miracle we survived – trawler skipper hurt by Libya fire

(ANSA) – PALERMO, MAY 7 – The skipper of an Italian trawler who was hit in the forehead by flying glass after Libyan machine-gun fire smashed his cabin window said on his way back to Sicily Friday that he and the crew had survived the incident “by a miracle”.
    “It’s a miracle we survived, they fired shotguns at us, the cabin here is full of holes,” Giuseppe Giacalone told ANSA in a radio call on his way back to base at Mazra del Vallo.
    The trawler, and two others involved in the inident in a high-risk zone off Benghazi, will arrive in the northwestern Sicilian port early Saturday morning.
    “I’m blessed, because God alone helped us,” said Giacalone of an incident in which a Libyan motor boat fired warning shots across the trawlers’ bows before an Italian navy frigate, the Libeccio, intervened to end the encounter.
    Libya has stressed it fired into the air while the Italian foreign ministry has stated that the captain was only slightly injured and that the trawlers were in a high risk zone.
    Incidents between Libyan vessels and Italian fishing boats are common in the area, and trawlers are fairly often seized.