Critical situation off Italy: a boat used by sea rescuers has been arrested by the Italian authorities due to defects. The organization “Doctors Without Borders” sees this as a form of discrimination.
The authorities in Sicily have arrested the rescue ship “Geo Barents” of the organization Doctors Without Borders. On Friday, inspectors in the port city of Augusta inspected the ship for several hours, Médecins Sans Frontières announced on Saturday. The “Geo Barents” are now being held for defects. Doctors Without Borders says that behind the controls, the authorities aim to act in a discriminatory manner against ships operated by private aid organizations. The investigation of the ship took 14 hours, the organization said on Twitter.
The Italian authorities keep detaining ships of the private sea rescuers. The “Sea-Eye 4” and the “Sea-Watch 4” are currently affected. According to a Sea-Watch spokeswoman, the most recently set “Sea-Watch 3” received approval to sail to its Spanish home port of Burriana in order to remedy deficiencies. Often the authorities complain about their equipment or that they are categorized in the wrong class for their missions.
Many missing people after the sinking of the refugee boat
Meanwhile, at least 43 refugees are missing after a boat accident off the coast of Tunisia. 84 people had been saved, said an employee of the Tunisian Red Crescent of the AFP news agency on Saturday. A total of 127 people were on board the boat that sank in the night of Saturday off the southern Tunisian city of Zarzis.
According to the Tunisian Ministry of Defense, the rescued between the ages of three and 40 come from Bangladesh, Sudan, Eritrea, Egypt and Chad, among others. The ministry did not comment on the number of missing persons. According to survivors, the boat set out on Tuesday night from the coastal city of Suara in northwest Libya for Europe.
From Libya and Tunisia, migrants make their way to Italy again and again. Many get into distress at sea and have to hope for the help of ships such as those of private organizations. Italy’s Interior Ministry counted significantly more migrants this year who reached the coast of the Mediterranean country in boats. In 2021, as of Friday, just under 21,000 people arrived, compared to around 7,300 in the same period of the previous year. According to the UN, around 720 migrants died in the central Mediterranean this year.