If this loss of life is confirmed then it is a catastrophe on a scale we have not yet seen in this crisis, which lurches from one tragedy to ever-greater tragedy and poses a fundamental challenge to all in Europe.
In the space of just a few days and at the appalling cost of more than a thousand lives, the hopes of ending a trade that the Italian Prime Minister described as the modern slave trade by cutting the number of rescue boats has proved catastrophically wrong.
Traffickers don't care that there are fewer rescue boats, the migrants are to desperate to do anything other than cross the Mediterranean.
There is a clamour for action - perhaps patrols to be stepped up. No one wants the Mediterranean to be turned into a cemetery, but remember this also immigration is a toxic issue all across the European Union, so lives might be saved but at the end of it, who is going to offer these people a home?
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