Humanitarian ships in the Mediterranean Sea have rescued nearly 300 migrants in the last few days. On Monday three vessels were waiting for permission to bring the migrants – some of them injured – to safety.
The crew of the Sea-Watch 3 rescued 127 people in several operations at the weekend. The rescued migrants joined 267 already on board the ship, so that on Monday (September 12) a total of 394 were waiting to be allocated a safe port in Malta or Italy.
Also at the weekend, Humanity 1, run by the German organization SOS Humanity, rescued another group of migrants. Twenty-five people were picked up from a rubber boat in international waters off Libya, bringing the total number on board to 208.
Many of those on board had been subjected to violence, SOS Humanity said. "According to survivors, the injuries are mostly from mistreatment in Libya."
'We have to assume the intention is to let people die at sea'
The Sea-Eye 4 was also waiting to be assigned a port of safety on Monday, after rescuing 129 people from boats in distress.
The Sea-Eye organization, based in Regensburg in Germany, complained that it had searched for days for a missing boat off the coast of Malta, but had received no help from Malta or Italy. "So we have to assume the intention is to let people die at sea," Sea-Eye tweeted.
Private rescue ships in the Mediterranean often have to wait for days at sea before being granted permission to dock and to disembark their rescued passengers.
Malta has systematically refused requests from private rescue organizations in the Mediterranean for a port of safety since 2020, when it closed its ports because of the risks posed by COVID-19.
Anti-migrant bloc predicted to win in Italy
NGO vessels are usually eventually allocated a safe port in southern Italy. But with polls predicting that a right-wing bloc will win a clear majority at national elections on September 25, Italy could once again try to close its ports to migrant boats. Giorgia Meloni, election frontrunner and the leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy (FdI) party, has repeatedly proposed a "naval blockade" to stop the departure of migrants towards Italy.
More than 62,800 peple have arrived on Italy’s shores this year, compared with around 41,000 last in the same period last year, according to interior ministry figures.
The number of people known to have died or gone missing in the Central Mediterranean this year is over 1,000, according to the UN migration agency, IOM.
With AFP, dpa