A hundred migrants rescued off the coast of Libya

The SOS Mediterranean ambulance ship “Ocean Viking” rescued 106 people on Saturday March 20, including minors off the coast of Libya, announced the French NGO, which is carrying out its second mission of the winter. The relief operation took place at the end of the morning, 34 nautical miles (63 kilometers) from the Libyan coast, near a ” inflatable boat in distress “Tweeted the Marseille-based association.

31 men, 8 women, 67 minors – including 51 indicating to be unaccompanied – were rescued, an official told AFP, indicating that a woman had fallen unconscious during the operation. The association also indicated that several survivors were ” in great emotional distress “. The Ocean Viking had already rescued Thursday, March 18, ten people including three children and a baby suffering from dehydration. They are now out of danger.

During its first winter mission in early 2021, the Ocean Viking had saved around 800 people. It is one of two rescue ships currently in operation in the Mediterranean, with the Spanish NGO Open Arms, which said on Twitter on Thursday that it was on its way to the central Mediterranean, which it described as ” deadliest frontier in the world ”. The candidates for exile from Africa leave mainly Tunisia and Libya to reach Europe via Italy, whose coasts are the closest. More than 1,200 migrants perished in 2020 in the Mediterranean, the vast majority of them on this central route, according to the International Organization for Migration.

A meeting of Mediterranean countries in Athens

The European Union is divided on the management of migrants, with some countries believing that if NGO ships save lives, they will also play the game of smugglers. At the beginning of March, the Council of Europe criticized the ” lack of will of European states »To establish policies for the protection of migrants crossing the Mediterranean.

The five European countries most exposed to the issue, Cyprus, Spain, Greece, Italy and Malta, met on Friday March 19 in Athens. This meeting, entitled “ Med5 “, Was to end on Saturday evening March 20 with the presentation of” common positions and proposals ”, Said Greek Minister of Migration Notis Mitarachi.


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