Médecins Sans Frontières and SOS Mediterraneé today rescue 122 people who were drifting in a rubber boat off the coast of Libya. Javier Martín MSF and SOS Mediterranée rescued 122 people off the coast of Libya. JAVIER MARTÍN Médecins Sans Frontières and SOS Mediterranée rescued 131 people on Friday drifting in a rubber boat in front of the town of Al Zwara, on the Libyan coast, on board the rescue ship Aquarius.
It is the second rescue that the French and German organizations carry out jointly in the last 24 hours, after that on Thursday morning they managed to save the lives of 122 more people. Among the shipwrecked rescued there are a dozen women who have had to be treated on the ship for suffering extreme weakness and hypothermia, two of which climbed aboard the ship in an advanced state of gestation.
There are also 42 people considered vulnerable, including 24 unaccompanied minors. At the end of the rescue, a patrol boat of the new Libyan Coast Guard arrived in the area, without any incident-taking place. The rubber boat, which was partially deflated due to a large number of drifting hours, was spotted early this Friday morning by the Aquarius, who proceeded to a critical rescue in coordination with the maritime authorities in Rome.
The rescue teams launched two pneumatic boats to prevent the boat from sinking during the transfer and boarding the ship of the immigrants, all of them from countries of sub-Saharan Africa. Those rescued came from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo, as well as three citizens of Libya itself. Most had spent months in the hands of smugglers in detention centres on the coast of Libya after a hard journey across the Sahel and the mixture of gasoline and seawater burnt seven of them.
Libya, the main stronghold of the mafias Libya, and in particular the beaches that stretch between Tripoli and the Tunisian border, have become in the last two years the main bastion and final destination of the mafias that traffic with humans along the Sahel, despite the presence of European patrol boats. According to data from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), a body linked to the UN, more than 171,635 irregular immigrants managed to cross into Europe in 2017, while 3,116 disappeared at sea.
Only in the first three months of this year, another 6,200 have managed to reach the coasts of Italy from Libya, through the so-called “central Mediterranean route”, and about 360 have perished in the attempt.
Source: 20 Minutos