The Titan Tragedy & Calabria Crisis: Refugees Forgotten by the Media

The sinking of the Titanic in 1912 has piqued the interest of many since its disappearance. Scientists, engineers, and billionaires have all put in immense amounts of time, research, and resources to maximize their understanding of the Titanic and what truly made it sink. That has yet to stop. Just recently, on June 18, the submersible Titan, designed to take passengers down to explore the Titanic wreckage, left Newfoundland, Canada, and received massive media coverage as it journeyed 12,000 feet below the surface.

Designed to set out on an 8-day expedition, this submersible first made headlines when it lost contact with the US Coast Guard an hour and 45 minutes into its journey. The updates given were in order of the way they were received, starting with underwater banging, which hinted that the five people that went into the submarine had a chance of being alive. However, the oxygen supply was slowly becoming an issue. Dr. Ken LeDez, a hyperbaric medicine expert at Memorial University, stated that the efficiency of the oxygen depends on how deep the submarine ended and how successful the passengers are at conserving the energy.

Unfortunately, in the past few days, we have received even more sorrowful information regarding the lives aboard this submarine, including the CEO of Oceangate, a Pakistani billionaire, and his 19-year-old son. The sheer amount of water pressure the passengers had to endure at this depth would have killed them instantly once they reached a certain point in their journey. Subsequently, the remains of the submarine were recently recovered and brought to the surface.

While this information was being presented almost as frequently as a play-by-play and captured the attention of millions, the Calabria migrant boat crisis devastated the lives of many in the background. However, this crisis is almost nonexistent within the media due to many factors, including lack of fascination, money, and prestige. The media channels were so fascinated by the futuristic nature of the submarine that they failed to capture one of the most devastating events occurring on a parallel timeline, leading to a significant knowledge gap. A dangerous knowledge gap, one that played a role of ignorance and unknowingly developed a lack of assistance to migrants.

Sixty-five migrants, including 12 children, from Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran died in a boat crash along the Calabria coast of Italy. Two hundred migrants were on board, seeking refuge in European countries as the vessel broke apart after crashing into rocks during harsh weather and storms just before docking. Out of these 200 people, 80 were alive, while some even made it to shore safely. Unfortunately, this was not the first nor most devastating refugee disaster in recent history. Afghani citizens have been fleeing the Taliban while other Middle Eastern regions followed due to the lack of individual rights and liberty in their countries. The Pakistani government has slowly dissolved into the hands of the rich, with necessities like food and water being a luxury for most of the population. The rising inflation and many other economic and political crises are causing migrants to flee to safer countries.

The Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, expressed her discontent for trading the lives of men, women, and children for the price of a tumultuous journey and, in turn, arrested some of the boat navigators on migrant trafficking charges. One Turkish man and two Pakistani nationals navigated the migrant boat from Izmir, Turkey, to Calabria, Italy, during harsh weather conditions and storms, causing it to break down just before docking on the shore. These three traffickers allegedly asked the migrants for 8,000 euros to partake in this deadly voyage that caused numerous unnecessary and preventable casualties, emphasizing the need for safe refugee transportation and an open immigration process.

Despite the numerous times similar events occur for refugees and people fleeing persecution, countries still do not change their policies or outlook on these events. Additionally, fleeing persecution in a hostile country is becoming more and more dangerous as power increases within their respective government. We must make it our responsibility to focus on improving the conditions for refugees and immigrants. Coming from countries like the United States, with immense opportunities and avenues for immigrants, we all play a role in ensuring every human feels safe in their home country or providing them with countries that make them feel at home. A nation built on the foundation of immigration must prioritize offering refuge to those fleeing from terror in the hope of a brighter future.

Works Cited

Alanna, Eloise, et al. “Missing Titanic submersible: Why oxygen timeline on sub may not be so fixed.” BBC, 22 June 2023, Accessed 28 June 2023.

Armstrong, Kathryn. “Italy migrant boat shipwreck: Nearly 60 killed off Calabria coast.” BBC, 27 February 2023, Accessed 29 June 2023.

Ekimenko, Svetlana. “Three Arrested on Human Trafficking Charges After Deadly Migrant Shipwreck Off Italy.” Sputnik News, 1 March 2023, Accessed 10 July 2023.

“Titan sub timeline: When did it go missing and other key events.” Al Jazeera, 23 June 2023, Accessed 29 June 2023.

Zakaria, Rafia, and Shanker Arnimesh. “Pakistanis are escaping on risky boats, through illegal routes—all for a better life.” ThePrint, 3 March 2023, Accessed 10 July 2023.