- The humanitarian organizations SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders have been on the forefront helping stranded migrants.
- Actor Javier Bardem sympathized with the immigrants. "Let Europe commit itself to bring people ashore and thus save its dignity."
- Two children aged around 5 and 12 years old among the stranded migrants.
The Norwegian ship Ocean Viking saved another 105 migrants from Libya on Monday. There are a total of 356 people on board. At the same time, 150 migrants remain “trapped” on the Spanish Open Arms ship near the Italian island of Lampedusa. Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini has ordered all Italian ports closed for refugees and illegal migrants. Meanwhile, some migrants have reportedly been waiting on ships for over ten days.
On Monday, rescuers from the Ocean Viking spotted a blue boat about 40 nautical miles off the coast of Libya. There were 105 men and teenagers on board, mostly Sudanese, and two children aged around 5 and 12 years old. The rescue operation was more complicated than usual because more than half a dozen people fell into the water. However, the rescuers managed to evacuate them safely.
The humanitarian organizations SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders have been on the forefront helping stranded migrants. On Monday they said in a statement that the situation was complicated and it was bound to worsen. They said that a port was needed as soon as possible for the migrants to dock. The two organizations equally considered it “crazy” that they couldn’t bring people ashore and accused Europe of “total lack of humanity.”
People on board were visited and given gifts by the American actor Richard Gere, while Antonio Banderas expressed solidarity with the Spanish Open Arms ship. Another Spanish actor, Javier Bardem, also sympathized with the immigrants. “Let Europe commit itself to bring people ashore and thus save its dignity,” Bardem said.
The Maltese authorities contacted by Ocean Viking before Monday’s rescue operation refused to accept migrants on board, giving excuses. In Rome, Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini confirmed “an absolute ban on the entry of these two foreign ships into Italian waters.”
“Let France, Spain or Norway open their ports,” said Salvini. In the past, Libya has proposed accepting ships with migrants, but most humanitarian NGOs are usually reluctant to send them to Libya because of the abuses and violence that migrants may be exposed to there. Joran Kallmyr, Norwegian Interior Minister, announced in a television interview that migrants from these vessels should be sent back to Africa: Libya or Tunisia.
Despite the closure of ports in Italy, authorities note an increase in the number of migrants arriving on the coast in small boats and yachts. In the last hours, 55 people came on a small yacht to Crotone in Calabria. Fourteen people got off the ship at Lampedusa, and 20 reached the beach near Agrigento in Sicily. According to the Italian news agency Ansa.
Probably one of the EU countries, as they have in the past, will decide to accept migrants. However, Brussels is looking for a systemic solution to the problem of migrants arriving on European coasts. Reports by the humanitarian organization International Organization for Migration (IOM), indicate that from the beginning of 2019, 39,500 migrants entered Europe. IOM also estimates that 840 people have drowned this year while trying to enter Europe.