NGO vessels resume rescues at the Central Mediterranean after a corona-related pause. A record number of people drowned in the last two weeks and boats continue to be pulled back to Libya with EU funding.
The civilian Search and Rescue (SAR) vessel Sea Watch 3 has rescued a total of 211 people in three operations in less than 48h. In the latest operation last night, the crew from the NGO Sea Watch rescued 46 people from a boat in distress after being alerted by the NGO Alarm Phone. They are calling upon the relevant authorities to assign them a safe port as soon as possible.
On Friday morning, Sea Watch’s search airplane Moonbird spotted two boats in distress with a total of more than 100 people on board in Malta’s SAR region, close to Lampedusa. According to the organisation, one of the boats was spotted first on Wednesday and then went missing and a Frontex plane is now on site. The other case was reported to the authorities and the NGO Mediterranea’s vessel Mare Jonio that is reportedly proceeding to the rescue. Over the recent days the Moonbird spotted several boats at sea, one of them seems to have arrived autonomously to Lampedusa while others were intercepted and pulled back to Libya.
The NGOs Alarm Phone, Sea Watch, Mediterranea and Borderline Europe have jointly published a report using their first-hand observations to provide detailed reconstructions of three SAR events “that are emblematic of a form of EU-Libyan cooperation that has prompted the interception and return of tens of thousands of people by the scLYCG to Libyan torture camps”.
Over the last two weeks at least 90 people have been found dead or missing after two shipwrecks off Tunisia, with 61 confirmed dead, and off Libya, with 15 confirmed dead and 17 missing.
The Sea-Watch 4, a new boat funded by the German Protestant Church, will set sail for its first SAR mission in the Central Mediterranean in July after its launch was delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
On June 15, the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament held an exchange on the situation on the Central Mediterranean Route, including speakers from DG HOME, the External Action Service, Frontex, UNHCR, IOM, the IRINI CSDP mission and Sea Eye.
In 2020, Missing Migrants recorded 339 of people trying to reach Europe via the Mediterranean.
For further information:
- ECRE, Med: Malta Under-Fire for Continued Rights Violations but PM Dodges Homicide Charges, June 2020
- ECRE, Med: Continued Violations Topped with Dodgy Deals, May 2020
- ECRE, Med: New Evidence of Malta’s Deadly Strategies, May 2020
- ECRE,Med: 78 to quarantine on Italian Ship, 163 still Stranded amid Spike in Departures and Depleted Rescue Capacities, May 2020
- ECRE,Med: Hundreds Remain Stranded at Sea as Ports are Still Closed, Solidarity Remains Lacking and Interceptions Continue, May 2020
- ECRE,Med: Former Maltese Official Admits Push-Back while another 62 People are Left Stranded, 08 May 2020
- ECRE,Med: 180 Quarantined on Italian Ship while NGO takes Legal Actions against Maltese Decision-Makers, April 2020
- ECRE,Med: 12 Left to Die and 182 Stranded as EU States Refuse Rescue, April 2020
- ECRE,Med: 150 Stranded at Sea as Malta and Italy Declare Ports “unsafe”, April 2020
- ECRE,Med: IRINI Ships will Not Search but Rescue – Civilian Search and Rescue Vessel Back at Sea, April 2020
- ECRE,Med: EU Naval Arms Embargo Mission Jeopardised Over Migration Concerns, Cyprus Turns Away Syrian Nationals, March 2020
- ECRE,Med: Search and Rescue Operations Under Pressure from COVID-19, Interceptions and Return to Libya Continue, March 2020
- ECRE,Interview: WatchTheMed Alarm Phone: A Response for Rescue and a Call for Change,February 2020
- ECRE,Med: Death Toll Mounting, NGOs Rescue, Returns to Libya Continue,February 2020
- ECRE,Med: People Returned, Rescued and Gone Missing, 20 February 2020
- ECRE,Med: Disembarkations in Italy, Rescues by Malta, Court release NGO Vessel, 14 February 2020
- ECRE,Med: NGOs Rescue Almost 1000 people – Pull-backs to Libya continue, January 2020
- ECRE,Mediterranean: Rescue Operation and Hope for Sophia’s Ships, January 2020
- ECRE,Safe Ports in Italy for 237 People but 1000 Returned to Detention in Libya, January 2020
- ECRE,Appeal Court Clears Lifeline Captain of all Charges – NGOs Continue to Rescue, January 2020
- ECRE,Operation Sophia: Ships Remain Suspended while Support of Libyan ‘Coast Guard’ Continues, September 2019
- ECRE,Last Breath of Operation Sophia Should Push Coalition of the Willing, March 2019
- ECRE,A Contingency Plan for Disembarkation and Relocation, January 2019
- ECRE,Med: Deaths, Returns, Rescues and Hope for Justice, December 2019
- ECRE,EU Praise of Libyan Coast Guard out of Touch with Reality, September 2020
Photo: Sea Watch
This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin . You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.