August 16th, 2018

Aid group: Ships not willing to save Mediterranean migrants

By The Associated Press on August 12, 2018.

The Open Arms Search and Rescue vessel arrives in Algeciras, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. A rescue boat operated by Spanish aid group Proactiva Open Arms carrying 87 African migrants and refugees saved in the Mediterranean Sea has docked at the southern Spanish port of Algeciras after other, geographically closer, European Union countries refused to let it dock amid continuing strain between governments about how to respond to the wave of migrants crossing from Africa. (AP Photo/Javier Fergo)

ROME – A European aid group says migrants are telling rescuers that several ships passed them by in the Mediterranean Sea without helping.

SOS Mediterranee says Sunday that due to the recent refusal of Italy and Malta to let rescue vessels carrying migrants dock, ships might be unwilling to do rescues “due to the high risk of being stranded and denied a place of safety.”

On Friday the group’s ship Aquarius rescued 141 people in waters off Libya.

SOS Mediterranee said “in a disturbing development, rescued people told our teams that they encountered five different ships that did not offer them assistance before they were rescued by Aquarius.”

In June, Aquarius was forced to sail north for days with more than 600 migrants to Spain after Italy and Malta refused it docking permission.

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