A vessel with 363 migrants on board, operated by Spanish charity Open Arms has received the permission to dock in Sicilian port of Pozzallo. (Image above: illustration).
Earlier on February 1, the charity announced that they have storage of food for another two days as it remained stranded in the Mediterranean hundreds of migrants on board.
Italian media outlet Rai later reported that they would be distributed across the EU, as laid out in an EU agreement on settling migrants and refugees rescued in the Mediterranean, however there were no further details provided about the countries who agreed to receive them.
Boats operated by non-profit groups have transported over 600 migrants in the Mediterranean within a week. The 403 migrants rescued by the Ocean Viking have disembarked in Italy.
The migrants aboard the Ocean Viking disembarked in Taranto, southern Italy. Among them were 216 men, 38 women and 149 children, mostly from Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea, according to the two organizations that run the ship, SOS Mediterranee and Doctors without Borders (MSF). Twelve of the women were pregnant, government officials reported.
The Ocean Viking had picked up the migrants in five different rescue operations in the Mediterranean off the Libyan coast since end January. One woman and her three children had already been evacuated to Malta because of medical issues.
The ship Ocean Viking has docked in the Italian port of Messina, carrying 213 migrants collected at sea.The operation happened in parallel with the efforts of the other NGOs, also transporting groups of migrants to Italy from African coast. (Imqge: illustration).
A charity rescue NGO vessel brought 213 migrants to coast to Italy after being granted permission to dock in the port of Messina, motivating request by the poor weather conditions.
The migrants had been boarded by the Ocean Viking in three acts rescue operation.A pregnant woman with twins had already been evacuated from the ship by helicopter.
Taking into consideration the situation of the migrant flows to Italy, the government, long with Germany, France and Malta jointly applied to the European Commission to initiate the relocation of these migrants, according to the Italian Interior Ministry.
Italian authorities have also agreed to grant another NGO vessel – the Open Arms – access to a port to disembark 62 African migrants, the founder of the Spanish rescue mission said .
In spite of the seaosn rough conditions at sea, the flow of migrants from Africa has a steady growth.
“The NGOs orders and the Interior Ministry obeys: 62 immigrants land in Taranto and 78 others in Pozzallo. Government of incapable and calabraghe! With the ports open, more landings, more departures, more deaths at sea and more business for traffickers. Shame! #portichiusi” Matteo Salvini wrote in his Twitter micro blog.
After Lega leqder Matteo Salvini has left the government, the NGOs expericend a great releif, and dobouled their efforts to transport migrnats from Libyan coasts to Europe. According to the existing Dublin rules, the country which hosts the migrants first has full responsibility to provide for them in accordqnce with international obligations and standards.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (Socialist) has sent a vessel to escort Open Arms from the surroundings of Lampedusa to Palma, Mallorca. This gesture has been intended to end standoff between the Italian Minister of Interior Matteo Salvini (Lega), and the NGO, transporting migrants from Libyan coast to Italy.
Salvini vowed to upgrade the problem of the flows of illegal immigration from Africa to the level of the EU, pointing out that the Dublin regulation is not sustainable any more, and calling the other EU member-states to take their fair share participating in relocation plans for African migrants.
Meanwhile he prosecutor’s office of Agrigento (Sicily) rules the immediate landing of all persons on board of Open Arms vessel in the port of Lampedusa and the provisional seizure of the ship.
“Finally, the nightmare is over and the 83 people on board will receive immediate assistance on land” wrote NGO for the Twitter micro blog.
However the Italian government expects the EU member-states, which made the pledges, to offer their hospitality to the migrants, allowing the relocation of some of the arrived Africans. All of them claiming asylum, and some of them have already declared themselves as minors to get ashore, but almost immediately Salvini revealed eight persons misled the authorities about their age, and in reality the “boys” were young men around 30.
Joining the international pressure on Italian government, the president of the European Parliament David Sassoli, demanded to end the standoff, and allow the 83 African migrants to land in Lampedusa.
The Mediterranean Open Arms migrant rescue vessel has firmly rejected an offer of a safe port in Spain, explaining that the six day journey to Algeciras would be too risky for the passengers, whose moods have been already critical.
Today, ignoring the maritime border, some of 107 migrants have been jumping off the vessel and attempting to swim towards Lampedusa in refusal to respect the concept of border as such, demonstrating their determination to enter Italy. The NGO Open Arms has been flexing mussels, signaling to Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, that his orders don’t mean anything to them, while international players, supporting illegal migration are more powerful than a sovereign state.
In his turn Salvini has used social media to expose the Spanish offer to point out it was made to cast him as a “racist”. He accused those 27 migrants who were allowed to disembark on humanitarian grounds of lying about their age and their illnesses.
“They told me from Lampedusa that out of the 27 immigrants for whom the landing was ordered are minors, 8 have already declared themselves older! We will see others …
After the “imaginary sick”, here are the “imaginary minors”!
While others give in, I don’t change my mind.” Salvini wrote.
“We do not accept Spain as a port to go because we are in a state of extreme humanitarian emergency. What they need is to be disembarked now,” Open Arms NGO spokesperson said.
The migrants, most of whom are from Sub-Saharan Africa, were collected off the coast of Libya by the Open Arms NGO vessel navigating under Spanish flag, , transported upon their own initiative to Italy, and from the moment of arrival to Lampedusa island. they have been waiting for the permission to disembark.
Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has agreed to let ashore 27 migrants from Mediterranean NGO rescue ship Open Arms, all of them claim that they are “unaccompanied teenagers”.
Those who claim they are minors were allowed to disembark on the Italian island of Lampedusa after more than sixteen days at sea, and considerable international pressure, however so far only six EU state expressed readiness to welcome some of the passengers on the vessel navigating under Spanish flag.
At present there are more than 500 million Africans without birth certificate or/and passport, according to the World Bank, subsequently their age can be estimated only approximately through medical tests in cases it is requested by prosecution. Among those without birth certificate 494 million are in sub-Saharan Africa.
Reportedly more than 100 migrants remain on board the Spanish rescue ship Open Arms, and the NGO insists on Lampedusa (Italy) landing.
The Spanish ship Open Arms has been stranded off Italy‘s island of Lampedusa for eight days because none of the EU governments is willing to accept any number of migrants from the group of the 121 passengers navigated from Libyan coasts.
The Hollywood star Richard Gere helped to bring food and supplies to the boat and asked for support for the migrants and NGO, whose passengers include nine-month-old Ethiopian twins.
“Everyone is doing okay now,” Gere said in a video published by Open Arms.
The rescue ship has been waiting for eight days for any EU government to welcome migrants. However not everybody is convinced by migrants drama: “Richard Gere on the Open Arms? I hope you get a tan and that you feel good … Since the ship is an NGO that flies the Spanish flag, they can disembark the 120 immigrants in Ibiza or Formentera, right?” wrote Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.
The 70 years old asylum legislation, created after the WWII, has not been adapted after the collapse of the colonialism. It is worth mentioning that the key documents – the Geneva Refugée Convention (1951)and its 1967 Protocol, were concluded still in colonial context, while Ghana (formerly the Gold Coast) became the first sub-Saharan African country to gain its independence from European colonization in 1957. At times of endorsement of Geneva Convention, it was beyond imagination that the legislation would be used to enhance flows of illegal migration from African continent to Europe.