The situation on the two rescue ships at anchor in the Italian port city of Catania is getting more and more complicated. 35 migrants on the German “Humanity 1” and 214 migrants on the Norwegian “Geo Barents” were still waiting to go ashore on Monday evening.
The Italian authorities refused, stating that they are not in an emergency situation. Over the weekend, 144 migrants and refugees were allowed to leave Humanity 1 and 358 people from Geo Barents.
Italy’s new government of far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni wants to severely limit uncontrolled migration across the Mediterranean.
The situation is becoming more and more unbearable for the people
According to the helpers, the situation was becoming increasingly unbearable for the people who had to wait for the Catania ships. On Monday afternoon, three migrants from “Geo Barents” jumped into the port basin, swimming to the mainland. They were taken out of the water by coast guard officers and, according to the media, were unharmed. At the pier, people on the ships could be heard calling for help. Some people aboard Germany’s Humanity 1 no longer wanted to eat as usual, a spokesman said.
“There is no way I can leave the port if those people are still on board,” said the German captain of “Humanity 1” during an impromptu press conference in the port of Catania. “I am really angry and sad that I am being pushed into an illegal act.”
Rescuers claim that under international law, rescued people are allowed to board the ship at the nearest safe port. “We treated several people with panic attacks,” said MSF program coordinator Caroline Wilman.
The rescue ship is slowly running out of fuel
Two more ships crossed the coast of Sicily on Monday. One of them was Dresden Mission Lifeline’s Rise Above with almost 90 migrants running low on fuel, press secretary Hermine Poschmann told the German Press Agency. In the evening, the NGO announced that the Italian authorities have allocated Reggio Calabria as a port. The expected night arrives there. More than 230 people had to endure the SOS Méditerranée “Ocean Viking”.
The United Nations calls for concession. “An urgent solution is needed for all survivors on all four ships,” said the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN refugee agency. States in the region must provide a safe place for migrants to disembark. In principle, due to the explosive situation and the many drowned people, a meaningful sharing of responsibility among all affected states is urgently required. According to the IOM, at least 1,337 people have disappeared on the central migration route of the Mediterranean this year.
The EU Commission urges Rome to accept migrants quickly. “In accordance with international standards, every effort should be made to keep the time of those remaining on these ships as short as possible,” said a Commission representative in Brussels. All relevant authorities should work together to create a “suitable safe place”. The spokesperson welcomed the fact that last night Italy let several hundred women, children and wounded ashore.
As for whether it was legal to allow only certain people to go ashore, the spokesman called on all EU countries to “save lives and ensure they meet their legal obligations to ensure that people at sea are rescued”. .