The Another

    Ocean Viking rescue ship saves 153 migrants off Malta



    The migrant rescue ship Ocean Viking has saved 153 people in distress off Malta, the French charity SOS Méditerranée operating the vessel said on Saturday, April 29.

    The rescue operations in the central Mediterranean on Friday were coordinated by Italian maritime authorities, it said.

    The rescues, which followed in quick succession, involved 59 and 65 people traveling on two wooden boats. Later, 29 people were plucked off a fiberglass vessel after another distress signal.

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    The migrants had been at sea for five days, and went without food and water for two days, it said, adding they were severely dehydrated. Another 15 migrants were rescued in the same area on Thursday.

    Maltese authorities have largely ignored calls for help from migrant rescue vessels and the migrants were instead being transported to the Italian port of Civitavecchia, nearly 1,000 kilometers away, SOS Méditerranée said.

    The new Italian government, which campaigned on a promise to “stop arrivals”, says charity vessels in the area sail under the flags of specific countries – namely France and Germany – which consequently have a duty to take in some of those rescued.

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    According to the Italian interior ministry, nearly 90,000 people have arrived by sea so far this year, but only a fraction have been taken in by France and Germany.

    The migrants rescued by charity vessels make up just 14% of arrivals over the past 12 months, according to Matteo Villa from the Institute for International Political Studies.

    The World with AFP

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