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Despite obstacles, relief NGOs resist in the Mediterranean
The ship "Ocean-Viking" in the Mediterranean Sea just after her departure from Marseille, August 7. SOS MEDITERRANEAN VIA AP

Vessel Ocean-Viking joined on Thursday August 8 thAlan Kurdi in the emergency zone without having been able to refuel in Malta, theOpen Arms is organizing with 121 migrants stranded on board: relief NGOs in the Mediterranean are resisting. On the same day, the President of the European Parliament, the Italian David Sassoli, sent a letter to the European Commission asking him to intervene on behalf of the migrants rescued on 1st and 2 August by theOpen Arms.

"If Europe can not protect those who are in difficulty (…), who have sailed for a better life, she will have lost her soul," she says. from his heart. AT"

In Italy, the federation of the Protestant Churches and the Vaudois Church, engaged in the reception of migrants via "Humanitarian corridors", have proposed to take charge of them, in the same way that the Italian Catholic Church has welcomed nearly half of the survivors stranded for a week at the end of July on Gregoretti, a ship of Italian coast guards.

But Malta, which had welcomed on Sunday 40 migrants from theAlan Kurdi after a partition agreement, refused to let the passengers get off the boatOpen Arms. And in Italy, the Minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini (League, extreme right), stands on his positions: "The ship is Spanish and the immigrants on board are under the direct responsibility of Madrid. AT"

Mr Salvini also accuses the NGO of making conditions of urgency by refusing to travel to Spain: "Maybe these gentlemen want to make a political provocation. Obviously, the lives of people on board are not their true priorities, but they want to transfer illegal immigrants to our country at all costs. AT"

Up to one million euros in fine

In Spain, the ship of the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms risks a fine of up to 900,000 euros for being rerouted to the rescue zone off the coast of Libya, while had been allowed only to go to Greece.

According to the new anti-migrant law adopted by the Italian Parliament on Monday, the Spanish NGO could also face the confiscation of its boat and up to a million euros fine if it penetrates into Italian territorial waters as it did in June Sea-Watch 3 commissioned by German Carola Rackete.

The NGO, however, appealed to the juvenile court of Palermo (Sicily) to claim that the thirty miners aboard – a handful of young children, including 9-month-old twins and their Cameroonian mother , and a large number of teenagers traveling alone – are welcomed and entrusted to tutors. "It is provided for in Articles 6 and 11 of the Hague Convention [sur la protection de l’enfance]. We respect the law  »insisted Proactiva Open Arms.

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After a week on board, reserves of water and food are dwindling, rescuers explained. According to the Italian press, the sailboat Astral from the NGO, could leave Barcelona to supply food to theOpen Arms.

Reserves for eight to ten days of operations

Lâ € ™Ocean-Viking has also experienced supply problems: the new rescue boat of SOS Mediterranean and Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) could not stop Thursday night off Malta to full of fuel and water.

According to the crew, Valletta refused him at the last moment, as he had already arrived at theOpen Arms last year. When questioned by a correspondent of Agence France-Presse (AFP), the Maltese authorities neither confirmed nor denied and refused to comment.

The 69-meter Norwegian-flag building, which had left Marseille on Sunday night, continued its route directly to the rescue zone off Libya, lightly slashing its pace. 8 knot speed to save fuel. "But we are ready to accelerate if a boat [à secourir] is spotted »said relief coordinator Nicholas Romaniuk, who estimates he still has enough reserves for eight to ten days of operations.

Thursday at dawn, the team began its waking turns on the bridge: armed with powerful binoculars, rescuers scrutinize the waves, relaying themselves every 90 minutes or so. And the instructions have been given to everyone to be equipped so that they can jump at any time in the canoes provided to rescue boats in distress.

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