What rules apply to migrants rescued at sea?

  • What rules apply to migrants rescued at sea?

What rules apply to migrants rescued at sea?

The Aquarius, a rescue vessel operated by aid organizations Doctors Without Borders (also known as Médecins Sans Frontières) and SOS Mediterranée, was forced to wait in the Mediterranean Sea between Italy and Malta after failing to receive guidance from Italian authorities.

The move is reportedly part of new Interior Minister Matteo Salvini's mission to halt the flow of incoming migrants, following up on his previous electoral promises.

"Malta takes in nobody".

"Given the location of the ship and the urgency, my opinion is that it would be natural to open a Corsican port to help those people in distress", President of Corsican Assembly Jean-Guy Talamoni, tweeted on Monday evening. The aid group said the migrants were "exhausted and stressed" and warned of severe health risks to a number of the passengers during the 1,500-kilometer journey, expected to take three to four days.

The Aquarius carrying would be immigrants arrives in the port of Catania, on the island of Sicily on March 21, 2017 after a rescue operation in the Mediterranean sea, where some 946 would be immigrants were rescued.

Responding to Italy's comments, Malta said it had nothing to do with the rescue operation, leaving the prospect of a diplomatic stand-off between the two European Union allies.

"Clearly, politely raising our voice - something that the Italian government had not done for a long time, for years - pays", Salvini said from the headquarters of his far-right League party.

The rescue ship Aquarius has been stuck since Saturday in global waters off the coast of Italy and Malta, both of which have denied it entry.

More than 600 migrants, including over 120 teenagers and children, had to be rescued from inflatable boats off the coast of Libya in Africa.

The dispute was among the first consequences of political upheaval in Italy, where anti-migrant leaders recently rose to power with a pledge to crack down on new arrivals from the Middle East and Africa.

In a strongly worded statement, Premier Giuseppe Conte's office said "Italy can not accept hypocritical lessons from countries that on the topic of immigration have always preferred to turn their heads".

A French NGO's rescue ship, the Aquarius, was waiting for a port to dock at on Monday as a diplomatic standoff played out over where it should go next.

The prolonged trip will worsen the already critical conditions of some of those on board, they said.

The rescue ship's crew pulled 229 migrants from the water or from traffickers' unseaworthy boats on Saturday night, including 123 unaccompanied minors and seven pregnant women.

"This was a first important signal that Italy can not go on alone supporting this huge weight", said Salvini, who threatened to bar additional rescue vessels. It came just after a fatal day in the Mediterranean, with at least 112 people estimated drowned when a boat that departed from the Tunisian coast sank at sea, and nine people, including six children, died in the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is urging European Member States to facilitate the immediate disembarkation of 629 people rescued over the weekend in the Mediterranean and now on board the Aquarius, a dedicated search and rescue vessel run by SOS MEDITERRANEE in partnership with MSF.