Sea rescue: Rescue ship "Open Arms" rejects Maltese aid
160 people rescued from distress are aboard the "Open Arms". The refusal of a safe harbor is strongly criticized by many rescue organizations.
The rescue vessel Open Arms with 160 migrants on board has rejected Malta's aid offer. With already 121 rescued on board, the Open Arms had taken on Saturday morning another 39 people in international waters off Libya from distress. This was announced by the Spanish aid organization Proactiva Open Arms . There are 160 people on the ship waiting for a safe harbor. The 121 boaters have been waiting for nine days aboard the Open Arms .
The Maltese government had offered to let the last salvaged 39 people ashore, as they had been found in the Maltese search and rescue zone. As Maltese media reported, citing the government, the Open Arms refused, unless the other 121 people were received. The government in Valletta said that Malta could only take its own responsibility, because other solutions were not in sight.
Oscar Camps, head of Proactiva Open Arms, wrote on Twitter that Malta's pledge to disembark the last survivors had "created a serious safety problem on board". There is an unbearable fear.
Rescue organizations criticize Malta's attitude as "inhumane"
The German rescue organization Sea-Watch accused Malta of a "shameful spectacle". The European Union posed "arbitrariness over human dignity and the right to a safe haven," wrote the association.
The Pier initiative called Malta's attitude "inhumane". It is "deliberately provoked a serious humanitarian crisis on board, which endangers the safety of the ship, his crew and the rescued," said Maileen Hintze, spokeswoman for the pier Kiel. For a week, people were being held on the ship because European states could not agree on their reception. "This cynical game on the backs of people seeking protection can not be justified by anything," says Hintze.
She appealed to the Federal Ministry of the Interior to declare "immediately" that the 121 people can come to Germany. Here, 86 municipalities would be available as safe havens, so that no rescued person would have to stay on a ship for days or even weeks. "Stop the political games at the expense of human life," demanded the pier.
The Open Arms had spent the past few days near the Italian island of Lampedusa. However, Italy's government refused to enter national territorial waters. According to media reports, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini pointed out that the Open Arms could have reached Spain in the meantime. It was also said that Italy had written to the Spanish government under Pedro Sanchez to accept the Open Arms . Previously, the regional governments of Valencia, Catalonia and Extremadura had agreed to accept the migrants.