• Tweeter
  • republish

The ship "Mediterranee" of the Corsica Linea ferry company approaches the port of Marseille, in the south-east of France, on August 20, 2019. Christophe SIMON / AFP

It was learned on Monday (September 2nd) that a French passenger ferry had rescued migrants drifting in the Mediterranean Sea. It happened in the night from Sunday to Monday. A first for the French company Corsica Linea that travels between France and North Africa.

The Mediterranean , a ferry carrying 2,000 passengers, departs Sunday from Algiers to Marseille. In the night, he receives a distress call: a small motor boat has been drifting for several days, apparently out of fuel. The ferry is failing to help him.

Eighteen migrants are hoisted on board, they are from North Africa. Their health is relatively good. They are provided with food and beds to rest. They are then transported to the nearest port, Alcudia, Mallorca.

The spokesperson of the Corsica Linea ferry company, who provides this information, says that the Mediterranean staff has only done their duty in assisting people at risk at sea.

Migrants are often rescued by commercial boats, container ships, tankers or NGOs. But it is rare that they are saved by ships carrying passengers.

To listen also: How to avoid the wandering of ships rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean?

■ A ship of the NGO Lifeline seized by Italy

Despite the ban of the Italian authorities, a boat with a hundred migrants on board was able to dock on Monday in the south of Sicily. The humanitarian ship Eleonore of the German NGO Lifeline was immediately seized by the police. The ship had been at sea for eight days waiting for a safe port to disembark her passengers.

" The ship is currently in the port of Pozzallo. He was seized. Now the police are questioning Captain Klaus-Peter Reich. As for the migrants, they were admitted to a reception center, " says Axel Steier, co-founder of the NGO Lifeline.

The captain of the ship explained in a tweet that she was forced to head for the Italian coast because the " situation on board represented a danger of death " due to bad weather and rough seas during the night.

" The captain acted lawfully , says Axel Steier. It was an emergency situation that allowed him to land, but he was threatened with a fine of one million euros and a prison sentence of up to ten years. If the judge so decides, we will of course defend ourselves. The boat went through a storm that night, several passengers were suffering from hypothermia, so we were forced to dock. Most of the passengers are from Sudan, they spent eight days aboard our ship, after two days on a makeshift boat that was sinking when we arrived. Now everyone is restored and we hope they will be entitled to a fair asylum procedure. "

A call for donations for a new boat

" As for our seized ship, it will take time, so we have launched a call for donations to acquire a new boat that will be able to quickly go out to sea. There are people who are at risk of drowning. If no one helps them, they will die. It is unacceptable. We are in Europe here, and we defend the right to live, " concludes Alex Steier.