Maritime authorities in Malta and Italy refused the Aquarius’ requests to dock Monday and permit the migrants, who had been pulled from waters off the coast of Libya on Friday, to disembark.
Among the many “weak and malnourished” migrants are two pregnant girls and 67 unaccompanied minors, many from Somalia and Eritrea, a few of whom reported being held in inhuman circumstances in Libya, the charity mentioned.
The UK refuted the concept the Aquarius was its duty, although it expressed concern for the welfare for these on board.
“It’s well-established that duty for arranging disembarkation, at a close-by secure port, is assumed by the related regional Maritime Rescue and Co-ordination, and in accordance with the desires of the ship’s Grasp,” mentioned a authorities spokesperson in an announcement.
After Gibraltar’s transfer to revoke its registration, the Aquarius will now revert to the flag of its “underlying proprietor,” Germany, in line with an announcement from the Gibraltar Maritime Administration (GMA). Germany has but to problem an announcement on the difficulty.
The humanitarian ship, operated by charities SOS Méditerranée and Docs With out Borders (MSF), stays on standby within the sea between Malta and Italy, awaiting additional steering.
“MSF is especially involved about group of 38 kids who’re underneath 15 years of age and who shouldn’t have a guardian or authorized guardian with them,” MSF tweeted on Monday. “The youngest is 12 years previous.”
“The state of affairs aboard the Aquarius is sort of okay for now, however the state of affairs just isn’t sustainable in the long run,” mentioned a employees member on board.
“We’ve got medical instances, (the) circumstances might deteriorate at any second. The individuals we rescued have been by hardship in Libya.”
Ship ‘ignored orders to cease rescues’
In line with the assertion from GMA, the Aquarius was chartered by the 2 charities as a “survey vessel,” and wasn’t licensed to conduct search and rescue operations.
It mentioned the Aquarius was ordered to stop its search and rescue actions in June and July however didn’t act so its registration shall be canceled on August 20.
The charity “has glad for the final two years all regulatory requests arising from the competencies of the Gibraltar Flag State, and all technical controls concerning safety and security of the ship,” the assertion mentioned. “No deficiencies had been ever reported.”
The assertion claimed GMA was merely “pretending to care” concerning the migrants, and that the flag termination confirmed “a deliberate will to cease the rescue exercise of the Aquarius, one of many final civil and humanitarian rescue ships within the Mediterranean.”
A fractured Europe
Spain lastly agreed to simply accept the migrants, however the diplomatic tussle revealed a fractured Europe, and the Aquarius grew to become a logo of the migration disaster within the Mediterranean.
The Mediterranean stays the world’s deadliest migration route, regardless of sharp falls within the variety of individuals attempting to succeed in Europe by boat. That drop is partly ascribed to a deal struck between Italy and Libya final 12 months, during which the southern European nation pledged to bolster Libya’s coast guard so it might spot departing migrant boats and home migrants trying to cross.