NGO rescue ship with 800 migrants on board asks Italy for a safe port

ROME, Nov. 4 (Reuters) – The German rescue association Sea-Eye said on Thursday it had asked Italy for a safe port to disembark the some 800 migrants it rescued from boats in distress in the central Mediterranean.

On Wednesday evening, the charity ship SEA-EYE 4 picked up an additional 400 people from a wooden boat in a seventh rescue operation since leaving in mid-October, bringing the total to around 800, Sea said. -Eye in a statement.

He said Rise Above, another rescue vessel operated by the NGO Mission Lifeline, first reached the two-level wooden boat, finding several migrants in the water without a lifejacket, at least one of whom had had to be resuscitated in a lifeboat.

The SEA-EYE 4 – a larger ship – arrived soon after and took all the migrants on board.

“A state of emergency is now in force on the SEA-EYE 4. Any delay by the authorities (on access to the port) endangers the health and life of the people rescued and our crew,” said the press release from Sea-Eye.

Migrants on a wooden boat wait to be rescued by German NGO Sea-Eye 4’s search and rescue vessel during a search and rescue (SAR) operation in the Mediterranean Sea on November 3, 2021 Photo taken on November 3, 2021. Hugo Le Beller / Sea-Eye / Document via REUTERS

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“Sea-Eye has already asked the emergency coordination center in Rome for the allocation of a safe port and the German Foreign Ministry for urgent help …” he said.

Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese reiterated Italy’s frequent calls for other countries to share responsibility for migrants crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa.

“These people must be rescued but it is extremely unfair that it is only Italy (just) because it is the country of the first disembarkation in Europe”, she declared during the presentation of a protocol aid to Afghan refugees.

The EU has tightened asylum rules and its external borders since more than a million refugees and migrants reached Europe across the Mediterranean six years ago, and it has concluded agreements with countries like Turkey and Libya to keep people elsewhere along global routes.

Sea-Eye said its ship is now heading to the island of Lampedusa in the far south of Italy, waiting to be assigned to a safe port. Lampedusa is one of the main landing points for people trying to enter Europe from Africa.

So far this year, 53,836 migrants have arrived in Italy, according to data from the Interior Ministry, up from 29,267 in the same period last year.

Editing by Mark Heinrich and Gavin Jones

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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