Ocean Viking rescues, Sea Watch 3 transfers, Alan Kurdi to undergo maintenance after release. Pull-backs continue but face legal action. Dozens missing after another shipwreck off Libya.
On Thursday, the civilian Search & Rescue (SAR) vessel ‘Ocean Viking’ rescued a total of 118 people in two operations in the Italian and Maltese SAR zones. SOS MEDITERANEE, the NGO operating the ship, announced: “All are currently being taken care of by our Care and Medical team. Their health is being thoroughly monitored.” The first rescue of 51 people took place after being alerted to the distress case team? by the NGO ‘Alarm Phone’.
After blocking the SAR vessel Alan Kurdi in the port of Palermo in earlyMay, after citing “technical deficiencies”, the Italian authorities released the ship, which is now on its way to Spain to undergo further maintenance. Gordon Isler, head of the NGO Sea Eye, which operates the ship, criticised the Italian authorities for the disproportionate attention paid to their ship and for impeding their next mission scheduled for July.
The SAR vessel ‘Sea Watch 3’, run by the NGO Sea Watch, received permission to enter Port Empedocle inSicily carrying the 211 people rescued in three operations carried out in the previous week. After undergoing medical examinations, the group was transferred to an Italian ferry for a precautionary quarantine. Sea watch is calling upon all EU countries to organize the relocation of those rescued as soon as possible.
A crew member from the reconnaissance airplane ‘Moonbird’ reports on their observations of the illegal pull-backs by Tunisian and Libyan Coast Guards, presumed to have been coordinated with the help of the EU agency FRONTEX and Member state authorities. Sea Watch, which operates the plane, has called upon the #EU to end the cooperation with the so-called Libyan Coast Guard immediately.
The CSDM has submitted a formal request to the UN Committee against Torture to launch an inquiry procedure concerning Italy’s conduct in the Central Mediterranean. The submission argues that Italy’s actions lead to the mass torture, rape and forced labour of thousands of people returned to Libya when trying to reach Europe.
Last weekend saw the second shipwreck off the Libyan coast in one week. 19 survivors were taken to an unofficial detention center, three bodies have been recovered, and an unspecified number of people remain missing. In another shipwreck off the Tunisian coast in early July over 60 people lost their lives.
For further information:
- ECRE, NGOs Resume Rescues amid Mounting Death Toll and Continued Pull-Backs, June 2020
- ECRE, Med: Malta Under-Fire for Continued Rights Violations but PM Dodges Homicide Charges, June 2020
- ECRE, Med: Continued Violations Topped with Dodgy Deals, May 2020
- ECRE, Med: New Evidence of Malta’s Deadly Strategies, May 2020
- ECRE,Med: 78 to quarantine on Italian Ship, 163 still Stranded amid Spike in Departures and Depleted Rescue Capacities, May 2020
- ECRE,Med: Hundreds Remain Stranded at Sea as Ports are Still Closed, Solidarity Remains Lacking and Interceptions Continue, May 2020
- ECRE,Med: Former Maltese Official Admits Push-Back while another 62 People are Left Stranded, 08 May 2020
- ECRE,Med: 180 Quarantined on Italian Ship while NGO takes Legal Actions against Maltese Decision-Makers, April 2020
- ECRE,Med: 12 Left to Die and 182 Stranded as EU States Refuse Rescue, April 2020
- ECRE,Med: 150 Stranded at Sea as Malta and Italy Declare Ports “unsafe”, April 2020
- ECRE,Med: IRINI Ships will Not Search but Rescue – Civilian Search and Rescue Vessel Back at Sea, April 2020
- ECRE,Med: EU Naval Arms Embargo Mission Jeopardised Over Migration Concerns, Cyprus Turns Away Syrian Nationals, March 2020
- ECRE,Med: Search and Rescue Operations Under Pressure from COVID-19, Interceptions and Return to Libya Continue, March 2020
- ECRE,Interview: WatchTheMed Alarm Phone: A Response for Rescue and a Call for Change,February 2020
- ECRE,Med: Death Toll Mounting, NGOs Rescue, Returns to Libya Continue,February 2020
- ECRE,Med: People Returned, Rescued and Gone Missing, 20 February 2020
- ECRE,Med: Disembarkations in Italy, Rescues by Malta, Court release NGO Vessel, 14 February 2020
- ECRE,Med: NGOs Rescue Almost 1000 people – Pull-backs to Libya continue, January 2020
- ECRE,Mediterranean: Rescue Operation and Hope for Sophia’s Ships, January 2020
- ECRE,Safe Ports in Italy for 237 People but 1000 Returned to Detention in Libya, January 2020
- ECRE,Appeal Court Clears Lifeline Captain of all Charges – NGOs Continue to Rescue, January 2020
- ECRE,Operation Sophia: Ships Remain Suspended while Support of Libyan ‘Coast Guard’ Continues, September 2019
- ECRE,Last Breath of Operation Sophia Should Push Coalition of the Willing, March 2019
- ECRE,A Contingency Plan for Disembarkation and Relocation, January 2019
- ECRE,Med: Deaths, Returns, Rescues and Hope for Justice, December 2019
- ECRE,EU Praise of Libyan Coast Guard out of Touch with Reality, September 2020
Photo: Sebastian Grochowicz