The NGO Mediterranea Saving Humans launched its eighth migrant rescue mission at sea on Tuesday. Their Mare Ionio boat left the Trapani port and is heading for the central Mediterranean.
The Mare Ionio weighed anchor on Tuesday to begin its latest mission in the central Mediterranean. Its the eighth migrant rescue mission for the boat operated by NGO Mediterranea Saving Humans.
The Mare Jonio will be the second NGO-run migrant rescue ship to set sail between Italy and northern Africa this month, after the Sea-Watch 3, which set sail last week. Before that, for more than two months, no NGO-ships had operated in the Mediterranean.
The Mare Jonio had been seized by authorities in Italy in September 2019. A court had deemed the seizure illegitimate and ordered the release of the ship earlier this year, but due to the coronavirus emergency, Mediterranea Saving Humans had suspended its migrant rescue operations at sea until now.
During its new mission, the Mare Jonio will be complying with anti-COVID measures, Mediterranea said in a statement.
Situation in the Mediterranean 'of ever more concern'
"We are returning to sea in a situation in the Mediterranean that is of ever more concern," said Alessandra Sciurba, head of Mediterranea Saving Humans. She added: "Being in that sea means once again seeking to reaffirm... that the life of every person counts. 'I can't breathe' are the last words of every person left to drown due to criminal political choices.''
Mediterranea accused the EU of not doing enough to rescue migrants at sea and of conspiring with Libyan authorities. In a statement, they said that migrants are "left to die in silence or are captured through coordination with European governments and taken back to torture in Libyan concentration camps."