Rome (AFP) – A humanitarian ship flying the Spanish flag on Sunday is searching for a safe port for the 265 migrants whose crew has rescued from the Mediterranean in the past few days.
The charity Open Arms wrote on Twitter that its ship safely transported 96 migrants, on Saturday, who were adrift in a wooden boat without life jackets in international waters. It added that the passengers, most of them from Eritrea, including two women and 17 minors, were suffering from hypothermia.
In a separate operation two days before that rescue, Open Arms transported 169 migrants who had left Libyan shores, where many smugglers are located.
Traffickers launch boats, many of them flimsy inflatable boats or rickety fishing boats, crowded with migrants hoping to reach European shores to seek asylum. Some are fleeing conflict or persecution, but many of the hundreds of thousands of migrants rescued at sea in recent years are fleeing poverty, and European Union countries have thus refused asylum.
Italy and sister European Union countries, Malta, have often denied permission to dock in humanitarian rescue boats, claiming that most migrants want access to jobs or relatives in northern Europe. The Italian and Maltese government authorities insisted that other European countries do their share.