On board Aquarius, Apr 1 (EFE) .- The ship Aquarius started today, in the midst of difficult climatic conditions, its return to Sicily with 291 migrants on board, a day after the European maritime authorities prevented the rescue of other One hundred people, who were handed over to the Libyan coastguard.
Scuttled by an icy wind and between waves over three meters high, the journey has become a nightmare for most of the rescued, cold with cold and continuous vomiting.
Most of them have had to be taken care of by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) doctors, nurses and logisticians, but also by the crew of SOS Mediterranée, the two NGOs that have chartered the ship.
They have had to provide more blankets, thermal bags, dry clothes and even help them change their socks after several high waves reached the deck of the ship.
“It’s a very complex situation because there are many days on board, and those rescued on Thursday have been on the ship for three nights, and they begin to accuse the cold and the humidity, but also the hardships that have happened before arriving here” , an MSF member explained to Efe.
And at least they will spend one more night, since, although the ship received a quick response to its port request, it was offered the city of Messina, which is not the closest option.
Thus, it is expected to arrive at the historic narrow Monday afternoon to proceed with the disembarkation, a procedure that could be delayed until the morning of Tuesday, which would prolong even more the precarious stay of the migrants in the ship.
“It is not the ideal situation, but we are prepared for any type of contingency”, agree SOS Mediterranée and MSF.
The French medical NGO released a statement on Sunday denouncing the tense situation on Saturday and in which he insists on the idea that Libya is not a safe port to disembark immigrants, as indicated by the International Organization of Migration (IOM). , a body dependent on the UN.
The “Aquarius” was required for a rescue on the high seas in international waters off the coast of Al Zwara, but when he was preparing to do so, as required by the law of the sea, he was arrested by the naval authority in Rome (IMRCC).
The aforementioned European officials warned that the rescue coordination had been transferred to the Libyan coastguard, which took about two hours to appear.
After admitting the Libyan patrol that lacked medical means and before the risk of sinking, the “Aquarius” was finally authorized to stabilize the precarious vessel, distribute life jackets and take charge of the medical cases, 38 people and a baby of just two weeks .
“There have been several violent reactions of the Libyan coastguard in these months with the few humanitarian organizations that remain in the area dedicated to the rescue in the Mediterranean,” the NGO recalled in his hand.
“To that was added the safety of our teams and the 253 people rescued in the previous days, were paramount in the interaction … The Aquarius crew was not allowed to complete the rescue,” he explained.
In line with this argument, MSF again “reiterated that Libya is not a safe place and in these circumstances no migrant or refugee must return there.”
“MSF continues to call on European governments to prioritize the security of refugees and migrants instead of actively implementing deterrence and containment policies in Libya,” the note adds.
“MSF refers to the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, who after his visit last week said that the situation in the detention centers is inhumane and that they should be closed as soon as possible,” he said. EFE