Malta Takes Some Migrants from Ocean Viking, but Leaves Others Onboard

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Malta Takes Some Migrants from Ocean Viking, but Leaves Others Onboard

Saturday, 21 September, 2019 – 11:30
The Ocean Viking rescue ship just off the coast of the island of Lampedusa in the Mediterranean Sea on September 15, 2019. (AFP)
Asharq Al-Awsat
A group of 265 migrants were brought to Malta on Saturday, including 36 from the rescue ship Ocean Viking, but the operators of the ship complained that more than 180 other migrants on board had been refused disembarkation by the island.

The Maltese armed forces said 229 migrants among Saturday’s arrivals were rescued from three boats in distress in Malta’s search and rescue zone, reported Reuters.

Another 36 were transferred to a Maltese patrol boat from the Ocean Viking, which had rescued them in Malta’s zone.

The arrivals were the fourth group to arrive on the Mediterranean island in a week.

But Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), which operates Ocean Viking, said in a tweet that 182 survivors from other rescues, including a newborn, children and a pregnant woman, remained stranded on board.

This, it said, “demonstrates the discriminatory, arbitrary and inhumane nature of a system which continues to prioritize political game-play above human lives and dignity”.

Malta argued that those people were picked up outside its rescue zone.

The island took more than 300 migrants from the Ocean Viking in August on condition that they would be shared among other EU countries, but most are still on the island, stretching its limited reception facilities.

The plight of the Ocean Viking, run by MSF and another French charity, SOS Méditerranée, has exposed Europe’s failure to come up with a coherent policy to deal with migration from Africa through Libya.

EU states have been at loggerheads over how to handle refugees and migrants reaching its shores since a 2015 spike in Mediterranean arrivals of people fleeing conflicts and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.

On Monday Malta will host an EU home affairs ministers meeting which will discuss migration and how EU states may share arrivals.

Saudi: Boat with 356 Migrants Docks in Malta 6 Countries Accept to Welcome them

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Boat with 356 Migrants Docks in Malta as 6 Countries Accept to Welcome them

Friday, 23 August, 2019 – 12:00
Rescued migrants rest aboard the Ocean Viking ship at the Mediterranean Sea, August 21, 2019 in this still image taken from a social media video. MSF via REUTERS
Asharq Al-Awsat
France said Friday it will take 150 of the 356 migrants disembarking from a humanitarian ship in the Mediterranean Sea after six European countries agreed to accept all of them.

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner tweeted that the 150 will be welcomed in France “in the coming days.”

He added: “Together, we managed to build a European solution.”

The Norwegian-flagged rescue ship Ocean Viking, with a stated passenger capacity of around 200, picked up the people in four rescue efforts off Libya from Aug. 9-12.

The migrants are being disembarked in Malta from the vessel and distributed to France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Romania.

Requests for a safe port were previously denied by Malta and ignored by Italy, according to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and SOS Mediterranee, the two charities running the ship.

MSF welcomed Malta’s decision to take ashore the migrants rescued. But the group also questioned why it took so long, calling for permanent European solutions.

Jay Berger, operations manager for Doctors Without Borders on board the Ocean Viking, said: “We are relieved that the long ordeal for the 356 people on board with us if finally over but was it necessary to keep them waiting for two weeks of torment?”

In a statement, he added: “This is about people who have fled desperate conditions in their homelands and have survived the horrific violence in Libya.”

He said once the rescued migrants have left the ship, the Ocean Viking will continue with its mission after restocking supplies and refueling.

The European Union also welcomed Malta’s decision and the pledges made by the European countries to welcome the migrants.

EU Migration Commissioner Dmitris Avramopoulos said in a statement that “these commitments must now be honored and materialized swiftly.”

The EU’s border and asylum agencies will help screen people before they are relocated.