Having spent three days cramped up on a boat in the Mediterranean, he can’t walk unaided, his rescuers say. He and over 200 refugees remain on the Sea-Eye 4
AN INJURED five-year-old boy is one of eight kids and seven pregnant women aboard a refugee rescue ship waiting for the European authorities to finally allow him to come ashore.
The boy, currently aboard the Sea-Eye 4 with 223 others, was rescued on Friday inside Malta‘s search-and-rescue (SAR) zone. But, despite the island nation’s legal responsibility for the safety of anyone in distress within its SAR zone, Malta has refused to cooperate with the rescuers — as it has done all year.
Sea-Eye spokeswoman Sophie Weidenhiller told The Civil Fleet today that the ship’s crew are taking care of the injured boy.
She said he was “in severe pain because he had to stay motionless on an unstable boar for 3 days at sea and now cannot even walk on his own anymore.
“The crew are gently trying to get him to walk again, but this boy needs proper aid and care onshore.”
As the weather in the central Mediterranean worsened at the weekend, the Sea-Eye 4 headed for shelter in the shallower waters off the coast of the Italian island of Sicily, where it has been waiting to be allowed to port since Saturday.
“As for the rest of the people on the ship,”” Ms Weidenhiller said, “two patients had to be evacuated by the Italian coastguard yesterday, because of their rapidly deteriorating health conditions. They were promptly brought to land by the coastguard and were allowed to take their partners with them.
“I am especially worried about the pregnant women, the elderly and the children. We hope that all of the survivors will be able to disembark soon.”
Another activist-run rescue ship was granted permission to bring refugees ashore last night.
The Rise Above, a rescue ship operated by German charity Mission Lifeline, saved the lives of 66 people last Thursday evening, again inside Malta’s SAR zone.
In a video message posted on Mission Lifeline’s social media channels on Saturday, the Rise Above’s doctor Ana Paula Cruz said the rescued had escaped Libya and spent two days at sea in a small wooded boat before they were found.
“When we rescued them, they showed signs of hypothermia, dehydration, exhaustion and seasickness,” Ms Cruz said.
“Due to the …. torture, violence and deprivation in Libya, the health and psychological conditions [of the rescued] can aggravate really fast and can turn into a life threatening situation.
“This delay is aggravating the trauma inflicted [on the rescued] in Libya and can cause irreversible damage.”
On Sunday, the Italian authorities finally gave the Rise Above permission to dock in Empedocle, Sicily. And all 66 disembarked the ship today.