4,655 mi­grants res­cued off Malta in 33 op­er­a­tions

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

At least 28 mi­grants were re­cov­ered dead from Si­cil­ian wa­ters late yes­ter­day evening as Italy’s Coast Guard was em­ployed in a to­tal of 33 res­cue op­er­a­tions.

An­other 4,655 mi­grants were saved. The mi­grants were on board 27 dinghies, five small boats and a larger barge, Ital­ian me­dia re­port.

On Sun­day, Ital­ian au­thor­i­ties saved 6,000 mi­grants, while 10 oth­ers died.

Ital­ian me­dia re­port that some 3,000 other mi­grants are ex­pected to land in Palermo and Cal­abria.

Most of the mi­grants are from sub-Sa­ha­ran coun­tries.

An Ital­ian coast guard ship came ashore yes­ter­day with three more pas­sen­gers than it picked up at sea af­ter three res­cued moth­ers gave birth on board.

Capt. Alessio Morelli, said the moth­ers were among the 1,004 mi­grants — most of them Eritrean and Nige­rian — res­cued north of Sabratha, Libya.

Once aboard, they gave birth “so we went from 1,004 to 1,007, two baby boys and one baby girl.”

The Datillo pulled into port in Cata­nia, Si­cily yes­ter­day af­ter­noon.

MOAS/Ital­ian Red Cross mis­sion res­cues al­most 800 peo­ple

In a chaotic night of op­er­a­tions that con­tin­ued well into the early hours of the morn­ing, the Phoenix and Re­spon­der, two ves­sels op­er­ated by a joint Malta-based MOAS/Red Cross mis­sion, res­cued and as­sisted 778 mi­grants, and re­cov­ered three bod­ies off the Libyan coast.

As it sailed south towards its area of op­er­a­tion on Tues­day, the Phoenix had al­ready re­ceived alerts from the Mar­itime Res­cue Co­or­di­na­tion Cen­tre (MRCC) in Rome about 11 rub­ber boats that were dan­ger­ously over­crowded.

On reach­ing its area of op­er­a­tion, the Phoenix crew rushed to as­sist an Ital­ian ves­sel in the res­cue of a large wooden boat car­ry­ing over 1000 peo­ple.

Three bod­ies, those of two men and a woman - all prob­a­bly un­der the age of 25 - were sadly re­cov­ered from the ves­sel’s hold. 403 peo­ple were res­cued or trans­ferred to the MOAS ves­sel.

Mean­while, the Re­spon­der as­sisted a num­ber of other search-and-res­cue as­sets through­out the night.

The ves­sel, run in a joint op­er­a­tion by MOAS-CRI, wel­comed on board a to­tal of 375 mi­grants.

Due to per­sis­tent bad weather over the past week which had pre­vented peo­ple from cross­ing for sev­eral days, large num­bers of peo­ple amassed on the Libyan coast over Mon­day and Tues­day, with around 72 ves­sels de­part­ing within short dis­tances of each other.

A to­tal of over 10,000 peo­ple have been res­cued over the past 48 hours thanks to the ex­traor­di­nary ef­fort and co­op­er­a­tion of all search-and-res­cue as­sets present in the Mediter­ranean.

Yet de­spite best ef­forts, 28 bod­ies are re­ported to have been re­cov­ered over the past 48 hours, although the true ex­tent of num­bers lost can never be con­firmed.

“These mass de­par­tures put the lives of mi­grants try­ing to cross the sea at fur­ther risk, com­pli­cat­ing res­cue op­er­a­tions con­sid­er­ably” said MOAS Di­rec­tor, Pete Sweet­nam.

He added, “The num­bers we are see­ing, and in par­tic­u­lar the con­stant in­crease in the num­ber of deaths, clearly shows that this cri­sis needs al­ter­na­tive and sus­tain­able so­lu­tion be­yond the ex­ist­ing search-and-res­cue mis­sions.”

“With­out clear so­lu­tions to the mi­gra­tion phe­nom­e­non at a Euro­pean and in­ter­na­tional level, the tragedy of the loss of hu­man life at sea will con­tinue, as our teams can sadly tes­tify.

“It is not the sea that kills mi­grants, but rather the world’s in­dif­fer­ence to their plight”, de­clared the Ital­ian Red Cross’s Pres­i­dent, Francesco Rocca.

Both MOAS ves­sels are cur­rently sail­ing north towards Italy in or­der to dis­em­bark those who were lucky enough to have been res­cued.

The Phoenix will ar­rive in Corigliano Cal­abro early on Satur­day, 8 Oc­to­ber, while the Re­spon­der is ex­pected to ar­rive in Cagliari on Fri­day morn­ing.

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