Hundreds of migrants stranded in the Mediterranean on ships run by NGOs

Hundreds of migrants stranded in the Mediterranean on ships run by NGOs

Hundreds of migrants were still stranded Tuesday evening in Italy on humanitarian ships, including the "Ocean Viking" ship of the European organization "SOS Mediterranean", which asked France for a safe port. To take down more than 200 people.

After days and sometimes weeks at sea, three humanitarian ships that rescued migrants trying to cross from the coast of North Africa to Europe were given permission to dock in Italian ports.

But Rome only allowed some survivors to disembark, much to the chagrin of humanitarian organizations.

The humanitarian ship "Rise Above" managed by the German NGO "Lifeline" managed to disembark all 89 survivors, after receiving permission to enter the port of Reggio Calabria on Monday evening.
Six migrants were evacuated for medical reasons Sunday from the small ship.

Earlier, after weeks at sea, the ship "Humanity One" of the organization "SOS Humanity" and flying the German flag was allowed to dock in Catania on Sunday to disembark 144 people, mostly women and minors. However, there are still 35 adult male migrants on board that Italy does not want to take in.

Also, the "Geo Barents" ship of the "Doctors Without Borders" organization, flying the Norwegian flag, docked Sunday evening in Catania, where the Italian authorities allowed the disembarkation of 357 people, including children, while refusing to receive 215 others.

Two Syrians among them threw themselves into the water on Monday, while a third person dived to save them. They are in good condition.


 The senator from the "Democratic" party in Italy, Antonio Nisetta, told AFP that they spent the night in a truck on the sidewalk and would be able to apply for asylum.

He added that a new medical examination is scheduled for the passengers of the "Geo Barents" ship, where the scabies epidemic is spreading among the migrants on board.

The non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch said Tuesday that refusing to accommodate all passengers on these ships "endangers them and violates Italy´s human rights obligations." She stated that international and European law "guarantee the right to seek asylum and prevent collective expulsion."

- Anxiety and depression -
So far, the ship "Ocean Viking" of the European organization "SOS Mediterranean", which is flying the Norwegian flag, has not been given permission to dock in an Italian port, and it was sailing on Tuesday morning off Syracuse, according to Agence France-Presse, a photographer present. on board.

"In the face of the deafening silence of Italy," SOS Mediterranee said on Tuesday that France should allocate a safe port for the Ocean Viking, which is "expected to reach international waters near Corsica on November 10."

In its statement, the NGO emphasized that "this final solution is the result of a critical and tragic failure of all EU member states and associated states to facilitate the provision of a safe space."

Unlike other ships, the "Ocean Viking" never entered Italian territorial waters, and if it did, it would certainly have been able to disembark some of its passengers, an Italian government source told AFP.

The new Italian government, the most right-wing since World War II, has vowed to take a tough stance on migrants, and it calls on European countries to show more solidarity in receiving migrants and considers migrants rescued at sea the responsibility of the state whose flag the ships sail.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Germany registered the largest number of asylum applications among EU countries (148,200) in 2021, ahead of France (89,400), Spain (65,400), the United Kingdom (56,500) and Italy (43,800) .

This year, Italy will witness a sharp increase in the entry of its territory by sea, according to the figures of the Ministry of the Interior, with 88,100 people arriving on its coasts since January 1, compared to about 56,30,400, respectively, in the same period of 2021 and 2020, which overwhelmed them. health crisis.

The Ministry of the Interior indicated that only 14 percent of the migrants who entered the country this year were rescued by ships of non-governmental humanitarian organizations.

A spokeswoman for the European Commission said Tuesday that there is a "voluntary solidarity mechanism" to ensure that other European countries take care of people disembarked in Italy.

But in the meantime, Anita Heber stressed during a press conference that member states such as Italy "are required to ensure effective access to asylum procedures" on their territory as well as in their territorial waters.