Social Issues

Migrants aboard stranded vessel LouiseMichel transferred to Sea-Watch4

Tripoli, Aug 30 (efe-epa).- All migrants on board the humanitarian ship “LouiseMichel” were transferred to the ship “Sea-Watch4” after the latter changed course Saturday to answer the distress call of the former and assist in the rescue of 130 people drifting in the Mediterranean.

According to the NGO “Doctors Without Borders” (MSF), which manages medical care on board the “Sea-Watch4,” the 150 people on the boat chartered by British artist Banksy received first aid treatment and given COVID-19 tests to avoid contagion.

“SeaWatch4 has safely rescued 150 people aboard LouiseMichel. As states have delayed aid to those in desperate need, Sea-Watch and MSF have had no choice but to act. Waiting to reach a safe place for the 201 people who were already on board,” it said.

“And now that?” the message on social media read, in a question raised directly to the authorities of the European Union, who have not given permission to the commercial ship “Maersk Etienne,” which on Aug. 5 also rescued 27 people adrift in a boat.

The “LouiseMichel,” named after a famous French feminist and anarchist, raised an alarm Friday night when she spotted a new boat and admitted that it had exceeded its rescue capacity.

The “Sea-Watch4” was the first to respond, despite being equally saturated and about four hours away.

Hours later, Italy did so too, which authorized the departure of a Coast Guard patrol boat moored in the port of the island of Lampedusa, which took care of 49 people: 32 women, 13 children and 4 men who were admitted to not break the family nuclei.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) demanded Saturday the immediate disembarkation of nearly 400 migrants rescued recently in the Mediterranean be facilitated.

In a statement released Saturday, both United Nations agencies said all of them left in precarious rubber boats from beaches in Libya, a port that is considered “not safe” as it is the base of the mafias that traffic people.

“The humanitarian imperative to save lives should not be penalized or stigmatized, especially in the absence of dedicated state-led efforts. The lack of agreement on a regional disembarkation mechanism, long requested by IOM and UNHCR, is not an excuse to deny vulnerable people a safe haven and the assistance they need, as required by international law,” the UNv said.

“The stalled discussions around such a proposal must be urgently reactivated, especially in the midst of repeated clashes delaying disembarkation. Clarity and predictability are in the immediate and long-term interest of all,” it said.

“It is essential that other Member States of the EU provide more support to countries that are at the forefront in receiving arrivals by sea in the Mediterranean,” it added. EFE-EPA

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