Migrants aboard Spanish NGO vessel wait for willing harbour
August 08 2019 07:21 PM
Migrants, intercepted off the coast in the Mediterranean Sea, wait to disembark from a rescue boat a
Migrants, intercepted off the coast in the Mediterranean Sea, wait to disembark from a rescue boat at the port of Malaga

Dpa/Rome

One hundred and twenty-one migrants on board a rescue vessel operated by the Spanish NGO Open Arms have been waiting for a week for a harbour to let them dock.

The more time passes, the harder it becomes to explain why they can't simply disembark, mission leader Anabel Montes Mier said in a video published on Twitter on Thursday.

According to Amnesty International, 30 children and two babies are on board the ship, located about 30 nautical miles from Italy, between Malta and Lampedusa.

‘After a week stranded at sea in blistering heat, these women, men and children who have risked their lives to escape human rights abuses in Libya should be immediately disembarked either in Malta or Italy,’ said Maria Serrano, Amnesty International's senior researcher on migration.

The Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy (FCEI) is prepared to take in the saved migrants, the federation's news portal reported on Thursday.

FCEI president Luca Maria Negro wrote a letter expressing the federation's offer to Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

On Wednesday, Salvini had threatened the sea rescue activists with the vessel's seizure if they entered Italian waters. Ships that enter Italy's waters without permission also run the risk of large fines.

Rescue vessels in the Mediterranean with migrants onboard have been repeatedly blocked from docking because the nearest countries - Malta and Italy - do not want to offer their ports.

The European Commission has mediated in such cases in order to identify countries willing to take in the rescued migrants.

In the case of the Open Arms rescue vessel, no request for coordination with the Brussels authorities had yet been received, according to a Thursday statement.



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