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Calm Seas Causes Influx of Migrants Crossing Mediterranean

(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)


On Thursday, migrant rescue efforts on the Mediterranean Sea managed to save 2,000 migrants on boats fleeing Libya for Europe.

Since the Mediterranean Sea waters have calmed, humanitarian organizations, the Italian navy and the coast guard set out to rescue the many migrant boats they expect to take advantage of the calm seas.

Reuters reported that 23 boats transporting migrants were noticed about 20 nautical miles off the coast of Sabratha, Libya.

The Maltese humanitarian group known as Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) says that “the mass movement is probably the result of a week-long, unfavourable weather conditions,” that came to an end on Thursday.

The founder of MOAS describes the migrants as “men, women and even unaccompanied children who are willing to endure beatings, robberies, rape, incarceration to risk their lives at sea to find security for their families and themselves.”

MOAS on it’s own has saved over 2,000 people found near Libyan coasts since MOAS initiated the 2016 Mediterranean rescue operation on June 6th.

“These people risk losing their lives twice: not only do they risk their physical lives in search of a better future, but in the process they also lose their security and culture when they leave their homeland behind,” explains Daniela Francesconi, a nurse working with the Italian Red Cross.

MOAS coordinates a medical assistance effort with the Italian Red Cross, and has been part of the migrant rescue operation from the beginning.

A rescue ship known as the Topaz Responder was able to rescue 382 migrants fleeing to Europe on three separate boats.

Doctors without Borders aboard the ship Bourbon Argos were able to save 1,139 people that were on 10 separate boats.

Sea-Watch, a humanitarian team from Germany, was able to rescue 100 people off a boat made of rubber. One body was found dead on the rubber boat.

The Italian navy found and rescued 515 people squeezed onto two separate dinghies. In addition other humanitarians ships managed to save 156 people.

However 2438 lives were lost on the central route of the Mediterranean used by migrants fleeing their homelands for Italy.

Italy has been most responsive to the migration crisis that has been reported to be the worst since World War Two. In 2014-2015 over 320,000 boats carrying migrants have made their way to Italy from Libya and neighbouring countries.

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