The latest rescue operation prevented an “illegal pullback”: the Libyan coast guard had intended to tow the 85 people back to Libya in their boat. In four previous rescue operations, the “Sea-Watch 3” had taken in 222 people within 24 hours. According to the information, the organization Alarm Phone, which operates a hotline, informed the German Sea-Watch about the emergencies.
Only private ships are in use
There is no state-organized sea rescue mission in the Mediterranean. Only the ships of private organizations are on the lookout for refugees and migrants in need. Again and again it takes many days for the Italian authorities to allocate a port to the rescue ships. Malta has not issued any permits for years. Most recently, Sea-Watch’s “Aurora” and SOS Méditerranée’s “Ocean Viking” rescued refugees from distress at sea and brought them to Italy.
The Mediterranean is one of the most dangerous escape routes in the world. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), almost 800 people have died or are missing during the crossing since the beginning of this year. The number of unreported cases is likely to be much higher. The aid organizations refuse to bring the survivors to Libya, from where many refugees set sail because they are threatened with torture and other human rights violations there.
Appeal of the Mediterranean States
At a meeting on Saturday, the five Mediterranean countries Italy, Spain, Greece, Cyprus and Malta called for more solidarity in dealing with migrants from the EU member states. A gradual negotiation for a European migration and asylum pact is supported, said Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese at the meeting with her counterparts in Venice.
EU members have been arguing for years about how to work together to take in migrants. The Mediterranean countries in particular are repeatedly demanding more support and redistribution mechanisms because most migrants arrive there.
According to Interior Minister Lamorgese, the Ukraine crisis shows that Europe can stand together to help people fleeing. “This solidarity must also be established in a redistribution mechanism for migrants,” explained the non-party politician.
haz/qu (epd, dpa)