The Malta Independent 23 September 2019, Monday

Responsibility for Sea Watch impasse falls on us all, Casa tells MEPs

Wednesday, 9 January 2019, 10:45 Last update: about 10 months ago

The responsibility for this impasse falls on us all as no member state has pledged to take in any of these vulnerable people, PN MEP David Casa wrote to his European colleagues.

The vessels Prof. Albrecht Penck and the Sea Watch 3, which is operated by Sea Watch, are currently stranded off the Southern coast of Malta awaiting instructions. The two vessels are harbouring 49 migrants who were rescued late in December. A number of European countries have pledged to take some of these migrants but no agreement has been agreed.

Sending an email to all MEPs in parliament, Casa insisted that in spite of Malta appearing to be within its legal rights to refuse entry, it is his contention that safeguarding human life must be prioritized above setting legal precedent.

“At present there are 49 asylum seekers including many women and children that have been aboard the Sea Watch vessels for the last 19 days.”

“Italy was the closest safe port at the time of rescue but in view of them being denied access to Italy the vessel is sheltering from rough seas off the coast of Malta.”

Casa noted that he had sat through 15 years of declarations on safeguarding human life and solidarity with southern European member states in the EU, insisting that this was the time to put those words into action.

“Not through more declarations, but by using your influence with your respective governments to show true solidarity and offer refuge to the vulnerable people on board the Sea Watch vessels.”

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