Malta: Italy and Greece accused of refusing to assign a safety port
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The international NGO Alarm Phone accused Malta, Italy, and Greece of refusing to assign a port of safety to a group of 24 migrants, including nine children, despite the group being in distress. Alarm Phone added that the migrants were pushed back to Libya while they were in Maltàs search and rescue zone.
The NGO confirmed that it was alerted by the migrants about the difficulties they were facing due to very bad weather. Their boat had lost its direction due to a storm and was later discovered by a merchant vessel.
The merchant vessel PGE TORNADO rescued the people, said Alarm Phone, adding that the Maltese, Italian and Greek authorities refused to assign a port of safety, and the merchant vessel was ordered to return the migrants to Libya.
Alarm Phone confirmed that the group is now in Misrata, separately imprisoned in two centres. Some of them are sick and they fear deportation to Syria and Egypt. There are 9 children among them. Alarm Phone called on the authorities to immediately release them.
Meanwhile, another international NGO, Sea-Watch, criticized the European authorities for ignoring the recently widely predicted bad weather and abandoned dozens of boats to their fate. Sea-Watch said that another group of migrants went missing due to bad weather. Sea-Watch also confirmed that 49 migrants were saved by the NGO Doctors Without Borders. They have been for six days adrift facing a storm. While the vessel GeoBarents operated by Doctors Without Borders found two migrants who were part of this group following an over 3 hours search, another migrant is still missing, believed dead.
According to Sea-Watch, the number of dead and missing in the Mediterranean has risen to 2,063 this year alone.
– Photo: Agenzia Fotogramma –