A migrant rescue boat from the NGO Open Arms.
Alessandro Fucarini / IPA / SIPA
Seventy-five migrants threw themselves into the sea this Thursday morning from the boat of the NGO Open Arms which had rescued them.
The refugees absolutely wanted to reach the coast of Sicily, even if it meant going swimming.
NGO rescuers were awaiting "instructions on how to disembark in front of the port of Palermo," when the migrants jumped into the water.
They are now "all safe and sound after being rescued by the Italian coast guard," said Open Arms in a statement.
After repeated #Malta refusals and #Italia reporting the situation of maximum vulnerability of some rescued people, more than 70 people jumped into the water off Palermo while we awaited instructions for disembarkation.
Some countries pervert agreements and human rights.
- Open Arms ENG (@openarms_found) September 17, 2020
Vulnerable and distressed people
188 people remain, including women, teenagers and two children on board the ship.
"We are waiting to know when and how we can disembark", specifies the NGO.
Open Arms rescued a total of 276 people in three separate rescue operations.
The migrants "find themselves in conditions of extreme vulnerability", underlines the NGO.
According to the medical staff of the NGO Emergency on board, some present "third degree burns, health problems and symptoms of post-traumatic stress due to the violence suffered in their countries of origin and transit".
Open Arms denounces "Malta's repeated refusal to give them a safe port to disembark and evacuate serious medical cases".
However, continues the NGO, "all the people we are helping are fleeing violence in their countries of origin and risking their lives at sea while seeking a better future for themselves and their families".
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