Migrants, including three children, mostly from Syria, sit in a boat in international waters off Malta while a rescue worker from the sea rescue ship Ocean Viking comes to their aid. Photo: Vincenzo Circosta/AP/dpa
The crew rescued almost 60 men, women and unaccompanied minors in international waters near the Italian island of Lampedusa on Wednesday night, the organization SOS Méditerranée tweeted on Wednesday morning. The people were therefore on an overcrowded wooden boat. After previous rescues, there were a total of around 200 rescued on the “Ocean Viking”.
A ship belonging to the German aid organization SOS Humanity is also currently in the Mediterranean Sea with 180 people on board (as of Tuesday) who got into distress at sea on their way from the coasts of North Africa towards the EU. After rescues, the organizations ask the authorities in the EU countries Italy and Malta for a safe haven so that people can go ashore there. After a long wait, Italy usually assigns a port.
The new government of right-wing Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni wants to limit the arrivals of migrants and only let people into the country who are entitled to asylum. According to the head of the Fratelli d’Italia party, this should already be checked in the North African states in order to prevent migrants from making the dangerous sea route across the Mediterranean. For civil sea rescuers, this attitude could mean that in future it will be difficult or impossible for them to dock in Italy.