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EU urged to end relationship with Libyan Coastguards and resume sea rescues after Aita Mari saves 105 people in Malta’s SAR zone

Meanwhile, the Sea-Watch 3 still waits to for permission to bring its rescued ashore

EU governments were urged once again today to end their relationship with the Libyan Coastguards and resume state-led rescue missions after activists rescued more refugees in Malta‘s search-and-rescue (SAR) zone this morning.

The Aita Mari rescue ship saved the lives of 105 people, including two children, adrift in a wooden boat near to the Italian island of Lampedusa after it was alerted to the distress case by a fishing boat.

Humanitarian Maritime Rescue (SMH), the Basque organisation that runs the ship, said the Aita Mari’s crew brought the people onboard and that some of them showed signs of injury.

The crew contacted the Maltese authorities, who as usual did not respond despite being responsible for making sure anyone rescued in its SAR zone is brought to a safety.

“In compliance with international law, the captain of the Aita Mari has the right to sail as little distance as possible to bring [the rescued] to safety,” SMH said in a statement today.

“It is necessary to remember that the only safe and nearby ports are in Italy and Malta. According to the European Union itself, in the words of its spokesperson Mina Andreeva, Libya is not a safe place.

“SMH demands that the European authorities be responsible for maintaining a rescue device in this area instead of financing Libya. The returns made by their coastguards show that they do not have the capacity or the will to comply with human rights or international laws.”

Meanwhile, the Italian coastguard evacuated three women with severe fuel burns from the Sea-Watch 3, which is currently carrying 409 people the crew rescued from the Libyan SAR zone in less than 48 hours since Sunday.

“We have many children and minors and people with fuel burns on board,” Sea-Watch said today.

“We are relieved that [the three women] will now receive medical care on land. Yet, we demand that all of our guests onboard the Sea-Watch 3 are allowed to disembark as soon as possible!

“Europe must not [treat] them as a plaything for the cruel isolation policy.”

Top image shows refugees being taken to the Aita Mari [Pic: Alfonso Novo]

Published by The Civil Fleet

A news blog and podcast focused on the activist-led refugee rescue and support missions across Fortress Europe

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