After a massive rescue operation on the Central Mediterranean, the Sea-Watch 3 is on route to Italy with 254 rescued people on board. Among the rescued is a baby who was born on a rubber-boat yesterday during an operation of the crew of Mission Lifeline. The situation is tense, since more departures are to be expected in the next days and hardly any rescue ships are present.
“Today the civilian rescue fleet has been able to prevent tragedies”, says Martin Taminiau, head of operations on the Sea-Watch 3. “The mother and the child that was born on a rubber-boat today are both well. Our medical team is feeding the baby for as long as the mother is too weak. We especially thank the crew of Lifeline, who initially took over the rescue operation, for the good cooperation.
The Sea-Watch 3 will bring the rescued people to safety in Italy. Among others, they come from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Eritrea and Nigeria and some have spent several months in Libyan camps. Sea-Watch is concerned about the situation in the search and rescue zone, since the lasting good weather means that further departures are to be reckoned with in the next days. Johannes Bayer, member of the executive board of Sea-Watch: “We will be operating with our reconnaissance aircraft Moonbird in order to find boats. However, only a few rescue ships remain in the area of operations. Like us, a part of the civilian fleet is on the way to Italy, since all were in constant operation on Tuesday. Now it is the responsibility of the EU to send rescue ships. Anything else would be non-assistance.”
The many cases of distress at sea this week show how shortsighted the policy of the European Union is. “It is about push- not about pull-factors”, says Bayer. In the past weeks, considerably more boats departed from Libya than during the summer months. The humanitarian crisis on the Central Mediterranean by no means over. Recently, the UN has criticized the policy of the European Union, that relies on fortification and is even prepared to work with the so-called Libyan Coast Guard instead of providing solutions. “What the civilian rescue fleet has achieved this week is extraordinary and I am proud of our crews, but really, it is the responsibility of the European Union to help”, says Bayer.
Fotos: Roman Kutzowitz (1), Johannes Moths (2)