‘Ocean Viking’ picks up 236 migrants and heads for Europe
The refugee aid ship Ocean Viking took in 236 migrants off the coast of Libya on Tuesday. According to the operating organization SOS Méditerranée, they were on two overcrowded boats around 50 kilometers off the west coast of the North African country.
Published: April 30, 2021, 12:37 pm
According to the information, the migrants come from 15 different countries and 114 of them are unaccompanied minors. Some were weak and dehydrated. Several women suffered minor burns from fuel. It was initially left open where the crew wanted to take the illegals.
A spokeswoman for SOS Méditerranée told Berlin weekly Junge Freiheit however that even if Libyan authorities agreed in accordance with international law to take back the people on the ship, the organization would refuse.
The spokeswoman emphasized: “Libya is not a safe country, so we then send inquiries to the Maltese and Italian authorities.” Experience has shown that Italy has recently given in and accepted the migrants, while Malta has remained resolute in refusing illegal migrants.
The number of migrants arriving in Italy across the Mediterranean has skyrocketed in the first four and a half months of this year. As of April 20, the Ministry of the Interior in Rome registered nearly 8 600 arrivals. In the previous year there were fewer than 3 300 in this period, and two years ago it was around 650.
The professor of international relations at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, Vittorio Emanuele Parsi, warned that the wave of migrants would continue beyond the summer months. Experience shows that the number of boat crossings increases significantly during this time of year.
The recent deaths of 130 migrants off the Libyan coast is directly connected with the presence of the Ocean Viking which for days has been going back and forth in the waters off Libya.
In short, in June 2018 the Libyan SAR area was recognized by the IMO (International Maritime Organization), which officially included it in the international database. Since that period, the rescue operations in the area of competence have been coordinated by the Libyan Coast Guard.
Libya’s coast guard meanwhile intercepts many migrant boats and returns them back to its own shores. International law stipulates that one cannot enter someone else’s SAR area and interfere. Therefore, the Italian Coordination and Rescue Center (IMRCC) receives an alert first, and cannot send a rescue party without first having notified the Libyan Coast Guard.
The Ocean Viking had been in Libyan SAR waters since April 19 and was going back and forth awaiting the departure of some boats. At 10 pm on April 20, with a stormy sea, three boats inexplicably set out in the direction of the Ocean Viking, which until a few hours earlier was 30 nautical miles from al-Khoms. The migrants, however, after taking off, began to have problems and called the Alarm Phone. But Ocean Viking at that point was no longer in that area, but much farther away, because at 6 pm on April 20 she left for Tunisia, where a boat in difficulty was reported.
A Libyan patrol boat immediately set off in search of the three boats, but asked for the cooperation of others, given the sea conditions. Thus IMRCC Rome identified three merchant ships in the area that could search for the boats in difficulty. A first boat carrying 104 people was recovered by the Libyans. On the same a woman and a child had dead. The corpses of the people who were aboard the second dinghy were sighted on 21 April by one of the three merchant ships. The third boat with about forty migrants on board sunk, and the wreck of the dinghy was spotted and photographed from a Frontex plane.
This version is also confirmed by Commodore Massoud Abdelsamad, spokesman for the Libyan Navy. Despite this, the Italian Democratic Party secretary Enrico Letta continued to ignore the NGO’s responsibility, saying that “there are still 42 people missing on a third boat – Europe kills, lets them drown”.
The deaths are directly due to the irresponsibility of those who continue to favour illegal immigration not understanding that irregular departures, unfortunately, also lead to the death of many people.
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