Rescued migrants on board a Sea-Eye boat | Photo: picture-alliance/dep/
Rescued migrants on board a Sea-Eye boat | Photo: picture-alliance/dep/

NGOs rescue ships rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean continue to make the headlines: After the Sea-Watch drama and Mediterranea’s ongoing stand-off with Italy, Sea-Eye’s “Alan Kurdi” vessel is looking for a safe port after saving 65 migrants from a rubber dinghy off Libya.

A ship operated by German aid organization Sea-Eye said on Friday it had rescued 65 people from an overloaded rubber dinghy 34 nautical miles off the Libyan coast. According to Sea-Eye, the dinghy didn't have a navigation device and carried only ten liters of drinking water. The migrants were "inconceivably lucky," said Gordon Isler, Sea-Eye director of operations.

Sea-Eye, an organization based in Regensburg in Bavaria, reported that its German-registered Alan Kurdi vessel had taken the 65 migrants on board in international waters. The ship is named for a three-year-old Syrian toddler who drowned in September 2015.

Sea-Eye said it had informed the relevant authorities in Libya, Italy, Malta and Germany about the rescue. So far, however, only the rescue coordination center in the northern German port city of Bremen had reacted. In turn, it alerted the German Federal Foreign Office in Berlin.

The 65 rescued migrants, among them one woman, were being examined by the three doctors aboard the Alan Kurdi, Sea-Eye said. According to its own estimates, the charity has contributed to saving some 14,000 people in more than 60 rescues missions with its retrofitted fishing boats "Sea-Eye" and "Seefuchs" ("sea fox") since its inception in 2015.

Other stand-offs

The Sea-Eye announcement follows controversy over the Sea-Watch 3, which forced its way past Italian customs officials into Lampedusa port on Sunday with 40 rescued people on board. Sea-Watch 3 spent more than two weeks at sea before its captain, Carola Rackete, defied the Italian authorities by entering Lampedusa. She was detained but released after a court appearance in Italy.

Another rescue ship, a sailing boat called the Alex and operated by the Italian organization Mediterranea Saving Humans, is currently awaiting permission to enter port with more than 50 migrants aboard off Italy's southernmost island of Lampedusa, just outside Italian territorial waters.

Malta has said it is prepared to take in those rescued, but only if Italy agrees to take 55 migrants currently in Malta. However, Mediterranea is refusing to bring the rescued migrants to Malta because of the distance and psychological conditions of those on board.

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has insisted that the Sea-Watch and Mediterranea's Alex vessels won't be allowed to enter an Italian port.

With material from dpa and KNA


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