Rome [Italy], May 3:A vessel operated by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has rescued over 300 migrants in distress in the Mediterranean, the organisation said on Tuesday. In the first operation, the crew of the Geo Barents took on board some 300 people travelling on an overcrowded wooden boat. Shortly afterwards, a further 36 migrants were rescued from another vessel, MSF said. Among those rescued are three pregnant women and 80 minors, including two newborns, according to the organisation.
The migrants had been located within Malta's search and rescue region, RSF said. Civilian sea rescue organisations such as RSF regularly patrol in the central Mediterranean to pick up migrants trying to reach Europe in boats that are often unseaworthy and overcrowded. The NGOs accuse Italy, a country which many of the migrants are aiming for, and Europe of not providing state-run sea rescue services on the dangerous route. Most migrants who come close to the Italian coast in their boats are taken on board vessels from the coastguard and brought ashore.
Rome has repeatedly complained that it is largely left alone to handle the many thousands of migrants and has been calling for a European initiative together with states in North Africa to prevent people from boarding boats there in the first place. (DPA)
Source: Qatar Tribune