The Malta Independent 18 July 2019, Thursday

NGO vessel Sea-Watch 3 rescues 65 migrants off Libyan coast

Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 16:59 Last update: about 3 months ago

An NGO rescue vessel has picked up 65 migrants from a rubber boat off the coast of Libya.

Sea Watch said its vessel, the Sea-Watch 3, rescued rescued 65 people from a rubber boat in distress, about 30 nautical miles off the Libyan coast

The boat had been spotted before by the civilian reconnaissance aircraft Colibri, the group said.

Among the 65 rescued people – many of which show signs of exhaustion, dehydration and sea sickness – are 11 women, 1 handicapped person, 2 babies, 5 children and 8 unaccompanied minors

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The authorities in Malta, Italy and the Netherlands (the flag state of Sea-Watch 3), as well as the so-called Libyan authorities, have been informed.

Sea Watch said the vessel had left Marseille on Saturday, after a court in The Hague had lifted an “unlawful” political blockade by the Dutch Ministry of Transport against the ship.

With the Mare Jonio - operated by Sea-Watch’s partner organization Mediterranea - probationarily seized in Italy after disembarking 30 rescuees on May 10, the Sea-Watch 3 is currently the only dedicated rescue ship in the deadliest strip of sea worldwide.

“You have to do everything yourself. At the weekend, we have seen once again what happens when you leave the Mediterranean to the EU and its allies: While not a single rescue ship was around, the number of boat departures from Libya increased dramatically. 70 people died, 240 more were forcibly pulled back by the Libyans on behalf of Europe," said Philipp Hahn, Head of Mission of Sea-Watch 3.

"We are now back to counter this barbarism and to defend European values instead of only repeating them over and over on election posters.”

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