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Lifeboat: Portugal offers reception of migrants on the "Ocean Viking"


35 of the 356 people rescued from the Mediterranean are allowed to come to Portugal. At the same time, the country is calling for a comprehensive European solution for maritime rescue.

Portugal has offered to host 35 migrants rescued from the Mediterranean by the rescue vessel Ocean Viking . France, Germany, Romania and Luxembourg are also prepared to accept some of the 356 people saved, the Portuguese Government said. Portugal is always ready to help, but continued migration requires a comprehensive European solution.

Operated by Doctors Without Borders and SOS Méditerranée, Ocean Viking rescued most of the migrant women from Libya from 9 to 12 August. It can not land the traumatized passengers ashore in Italy or Malta. This is the "new normal", said the MSF project coordinator on board the ship, Jay Berger. "It's a complete shame, it's inhuman," he said.

Fear of Libya

The ship, with a capacity of 200 passengers, travels between the Italian island of Linosa and Malta and stays out of sight of land so as not to arouse the rescued. The situation on board is manageable, but the migrants were increasingly afraid that they would be brought back to Libya, where many were tortured and imprisoned, Berger reported by satellite phone. So far, there have been no tensions or medical emergencies, as occurred on the Spanish rescue vessel Open Arms , which docked on Tuesday night on the Italian island of Lampedusa.

The Ocean Viking was determined to comply with all laws and did not intend "to invade any sovereign waters of any state," Berger said, but if the situation worsened and became an emergency, it was the captain's decision to head to the nearest port drive.

Malta has denied the Ocean Viking entry into a port and Italy has not responded to a request. While the ship is waiting for an entry permit, no humanitarian rescue ships are in the central Mediterranean, said Berger. "If we are not out there saving lives, people will die at sea, making the Mediterranean a cemetery." This shows indifference and a lack of decency of the EU member states, said Berger.

Source: zeit

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