World, Europe

NGO ships saving migrants in Mediterranean

Rescue ships of European NGOs save hundreds of migrants in central Mediterranean and off Libya’s shores

Baris Seckin   | 20.02.2020
NGO ships saving migrants in Mediterranean


ROME 

Rescue ships owned by European non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have saved nearly 400 irregular migrants from drowning in the Mediterranean region.

In a Twitter post, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said that in three separate operations, the rescue ship “Ocean Viking” saved a total of 274 migrants who were struggling under difficult conditions during their illegal journey to the European continent.

Additionally, Sea-Watch 3 – a ship owned by German NGOs – rescued 121 people off Libyan shores, including 19 women and eight children.

In a separate statement, the MSF criticized the European Union’s decision to terminate Operation Sophia – an initiative launched in 2015 to combat illegal migration and human trafficking – and called on the union to prioritize human life.

After rescuing the irregular migrants, the NGOs said they wanted to bring them to the nearest EU member states – Italy and Malta.

However, not all EU member states are on the same page when it comes to sharing the responsibility of accommodating migrants, so those rescued are usually held at sea on NGO ships for a while.

*Writing by Ali Murat Alhas

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