The Sea-Watch just terminated its first rescue of mission 5. 150 persons rescued, including 20 women and 8 chidden. Our crew is already involved in the next operation.
The weather conditions that during the past week shifted the departures to Egypt, along the line separating the SAR areas of Italy and Malta, have returned stable, causing a new wave of migration across the Libyan waters.
Right now between 2000 and 3000 migrants departed from the Libyan shores and are now detected at sea. An impressive number of rafts and drifting boats have called for the intervention of the Italian and European emergency vessels as well as the private boats lined up in the Sicilian Channel. 18 distress calls have been received by the operational centre of Coast Guard (MRCC Rome) so far. 14 came from dinghies drifting at sea and 4 from boats.
In the area have been sent the Fiorillo and Diciotti ships from the Coast Guard, a Norwegian ship involved in the European operation Triton, 4 patrol boats from different Capitanerie, as well as vessels of the Navy and the Guardia di Finanza. The recovery of the migrants are going with the support of the private boats as our Sea-Watch and Bourbon Argos, which currently has around 300 migrants on board to be disembarked in Sicily. The Navy ship Vega has meanwhile concluded the rescue of a boat spotted by a helicopter of the Navy. Rescued 432 persons.
The stories of the migrants allowed the identification and arrest of six smugglers who departed from Egypt and have been disembarked in Sicily with the migrants last Thursday. They are now detained with the accusation of aiding illegal immigration. The persons rescued have also described the dramatic conditions and dangers they experienced during the journey. According to their stories, while browsing dozens of women and children were locked below deck and taken out only after the payment by their relatives of a further substantial amount as ransom.
In the meantime at the border between Greece and Macedonia thousands of migrants coming mainly from Syria are stuck at the border and prevented to cross. “Take at least the children” they beg, while episodes of violence against the migrants are reported both there and in Germany.