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Charlie Andreasson

Human Right Defender

HÄR KOMMER JAG LÄGGA UPP ARTIKLAR RELATERADE TILL SJÖRÄDDNING I MEDELHAVET, OCH DÅ JAG SJÄLV ÄR OMBORD, ARTIKLAR SKRIVNA AV JOURNALISTER SOM VI HAR OMBORD.

21/10-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  


At least 15 people are reportedly missing following a shipwreck off the coast of Sabratha yesterday, reports IOM Libya. Five survivors were brought to shore by fishermen. 

This late afternoon, Alarm Phone alerted to a missing boat with approximately 10 persons onboard. The boat would have left Algeria four days ago to reach Sardinia, Italy, according to relatives’ testimonies reported by the NGO 

Seven boats with a total of 253 people onboard arrived in Lampedusa last night. Most of the survivors are Tunisians according to the Italian Coast Guard. They were taken to the hotspot in the Imbriacola district. This morning 98 men, women and children arrived at the port of Le Grazie di Roccella, in Calabria, Italy. Most of them are Iranians, Iraqis and Pakistanis reports the local media City Now, according to which they had departed from Turkey. Between yesterday evening and this morning, a total of 17 people onboard two boats landed in Porto Pino, Sardinia, reported the Italian news agency Italpress.  

La Repubblica: Night of landings in Lampedusa: 253 migrants arrive 

City Now: Nuovo sbarco, un centinaio di migranti al porto di Roccella [New landing, a hundred migrants at the port of Roccella] 

Tiscali Sardegna: Proseguono gli sbarchi in Sardegna, 17 migranti arrivati a Porto Pino [The landings in Sardinia continue, 17 migrants arrived in Porto Pino] 

Italian Admiral Ettore Socci has handed over command of the European maritime force of EUNAVFOR MED IRINI’s Operation to Greek Commodore Theodoros Mikropoulos on Monday. Until early October, Commodore Theodoros Mikropoulos was Chief of Staff at IRINI's Operation Headquarters in Rome.  

Greek Reporter: Greek Officer Assumes Command of EU Navy Operation in Libya 

Bruxelles 2, Le blog de l’Europe politique: Irini. Un Grec prend le commandement de la force navale au large de la Libye [Irini. A Greek takes command of the naval force off the coast of Libya] 

 The European aerospace company Airbus and two Israeli arms firms won EU contracts totalling 100 million euros to operate unmanned drones to spot refugees and migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean sea to Europe"reports The Guardian. The drones will be based in either Greece, Italy or Malta according to the newspaper. Frontex’ budget increased from 6 million euros in 2005 to 142 million euros in 2015, before surging to 460 million euros this year. 

The Guardian: Airbus to operate drones searching for migrants crossing the Mediterranean 

 
In Libya  


The United Nations’ acting Libya envoy, Stephanie Williams, said today that she was “quite optimistic” that ongoing talks in Geneva between Libyan warring sides would lead to a lasting ceasefireafter they agreed to reopen land and air routes across front lines. 

Reuters: U.N. acting Libya envoy 'optimistic' on ceasefire talks 

Libyan News Agency: UNSMIL Issues Statement On Libyan Military Committee 5+5 Talks In Geneva 

 Libya’s oil sector is back on the rise. The easing of a blockade by eastern forces, which had cut output by more than 90% to around 100,000 barrels per day, has seen production recover to about 500,000. The UN-backed government in Tripoli expects that to double by year-end. 

Reuters: Factbox: Libya's troubled oil sector sees new revival 

 UNHCR and UNICEF launched a joint plan to expand assistance, improve delivery of essential services and protection to the children on the move and their families in Libya”. 

 

Press Review 


Infomigrants'He slipped away ... under the waves, screaming, until he disappeared': Kandia's Mediterranean crossing 

Associated Press: Spanish islands struggle with migration surge amid pandemic 

EFE: El Defensor investiga el caso de los niños a los que separan de sus madres [The Ombudsman investigates the case of children who are separated from their mothers] 

MSF: MSF reclama la liberación urgente del Sea Watch 4 bloqueado en Sicilia desde hace un mes [MSF demands the urgent release of Sea Watch 4 blocked in Sicily since a month] 

The New York Times: E.U. Tells Cyprus and Malta to Abandon ‘Golden Passports’ 

Le Journal des activités sociales de l’énergieSOS Méditerranée : “Ce dont on ne témoigne pas est invisible” [SOS MEDITERRANEE: "What we don't testify to is invisible"] 

20/10-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  


67 peopleincluding women and childrenonboard a fishing boat landed at the port of Reggio CalabriaItaly, yesterday afternoonAccording to Avvenirethe fishing boat first left Libya before embarking people in Crete, Greece, which would be “confirming new strategies of smugglers' organizations”.  

Reggio TodayNuovo sbarco in città, peschereccio con oltre 60 migranti a bordo approda al porto [New landing in the city, fishing boat with over 60 migrants on board arrives at the port] 
AvvenireTrafficanti. Un altro strano approdo di migrati in Calabria. Cambio di strategia libico [TraffickersAnother strange landing of migrants in CalabriaLibyan strategy change] 

Between the 12 and 19 of October, 12 people were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya, reports IOM Libya in its maritime update. In total, since the beginning of the year, 9,851 people were intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard.  
The shipwrecked boat rescued on Sunday 18th by the Italian Coast Guard with 6 survivors and at least 5 missing persons (see yesterday’s Context Update) had been reported missing by Alarm Phone on October 14thAccording to La Stampa, the Italian Coast Guard were able to find the boat thanks to a call from relatives who provided telephone numbers of keens onboard 

La Stampa: Odissea sul “barchino” dall’Algeria alla Sardegnamuoiono in 5, i loro corpi gettati a mare [Odyssey on the boat from Algeria to Sardinia: 5 die, their bodies thrown into the sea] 

Infomigrants: Sicily: Six migrants saved and five dead after 10 days at sea 

On Thursday, October 15, a group of 60 asylum seekers was relocated from Crotone, Italy, to Hanover, Germany, reports Infomigrants. Since September, UNHCR has relocated some 124 asylum seekers from Italy to other EU member states. 

A boat with 24 people arrived autonomously at the Arguineguín dock this morningOver 300 people arrived in the Canary Islands yesterday, onboard 13 different boats and one pirogueAccording to EFE, the flow of boats to the Canary Islands reached unprecedent levels since the “pirogues crisis” a decade ago, with over 300 people arriving each dayToday, the acting Ombudsman of Spain regretted shortcomings regarding the Spanish detention centres for migrants. 

EFE: Una patera con 24 personas llega directamente al muelle de Arguineguín [A boat with 24 people arrives directly at the Arguineguín dock] 

EFE: Se elevan a más de 300 los migrantes llegados a Canarias durante este lunes [More than 300 migrants arrived in the Canary Islands this Monday] 
EFE: Defensor del Pueblo: "Las necesidades de quienes llegan en patera se cubren lo justito" [Ombudsman: "The needs of those who arrive by boat are covered just enough"] 

 
 

Press review 

 

La Repubblica: Morte di un ragazzo [Death of a boy, the story of Abu Dakite] 

France Bleu: Sangatte : deux policiers se jettent à l'eau et sauvent des migrants [Sangatte: two policemen jump into the water and rescue migrants] 

 Infomigrants: Caporalato: 180,000 'vulnerable' workers in Italian agriculture 

19/10-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 
Italian Admiral Vittorio Alessandro visited the Ocean Viking on Thursday 15th, in support of the release of SAR NGO vessels. In an interview given to Sergio Scandura for Radio Radicale, he expressed his opposition to the detention of SAR NGO ships which he considers important rescue assets 

A boat that had reportedly departed from Annaba, Algeriaon October 9 and was alerted to by Alarm Phone on Saturday was rescued by Italian Coast Guards on Sunday, with the support of Air Forces and Frontex aircraft according to Sergio Scandura. Out of the 11 people that embarked5 died during the journey, survivors reported 

Mediterraneo Cronaca: Migranti si perdonoaltri cinque cadaveri nel Mediterraneo [Migrants are lost, five more corpses in the Mediterranean] 

About 54 people, including women and children, arrived in Lampedusa onboard two different boats yesterday, reported Mediterraneo CronacaBoth boats had reportedly departed from Tunisia.  
Tensions have reportedly risen inside the quarantine ship Adriatica between survivors and police forces, at the end of last weekSome of the survivors jumped overboard when the Italian ferry had just arrived in the port of Palermo from Lampedusa. 

La Sicilia: Scontro migranti-agenti di Polizia all'interno della nave quarantena "Adriatica" [Migrants-police officers clash inside the quarantine ship "Adriatica"] 

La Sicilia: Migranti si lanciano dai ponti della nave quarantena "Adriatica" [Migrants jumped from the deck of the quarantine ship "Adriatica"] 

Some 9050 people were rescued or intercepted between 1 March and 31 July in the southern areas of the central Mediterranean, covered by the EU naval forces, according to the first report produced by Operation EUNAVFOR Med Irini as reported by B2, European political blog. Almost half (45%) of those who had left Libya were intercepted by the Libyan coastguard in search and rescue areas in Libya and Malta, according to UNHCR data. A quarter (24%) were rescued by the Italian authorities, and 7% were rescued by the Maltese Armed Forces, 7% by NGOs, 4% by merchant vessels.   
Bruxelles 2, Le blog de l’Europe politique: Méditerranée. Les garde-côtes libyens effectuent toujours la moitié des sauvetages [Mediterranean. The Libyan coastguard still carries out half of the rescues.] 

UN Security Council report: Smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya 

In response to two reports published in September by Amnesty International on the cycle of violence faced by migrants fleeing Libya, Frontex sent a letter to the NGO stressing the fact that the Agency has “no mandate to coordinate search and rescue cases” and that their Multipurpose Aerial Surveillance (MAS) tool is being used to inform competent RCCs when distress cases are spotted. 

Amnesty International reports: Malta: Waves of impunity and Libya: Between life and death 

 

  In Libya  


Twelve unidentified bodies were discovered in five new mass graves in the city of Tarhuna, Haftar’s last stronghold in western Libya, on Sunday. The city was used as a launchpad during an offensive to seize Tripoli from the GNA. 

Al Jazeera: Twelve bodies found in Libya mass graves 

This week, the UN are hosting Libyan military leaders in Geneva in hopes of paving a way for ‘complete and permanent ceasefire’. The fourth round of talks involving the Joint Military Commission, under the watch of the head of the UNSMIL, started today and is expected to run through Saturday.  

Associated Press: UN hosts Libyan military leaders in hopes of end to conflict 

945 new cases of COVID-19 were registered on Saturday and 26 people died of the novel Coronavirus on Sunday, reported the National Centre for Disease Control. Libya’s count rose to 48,790 confirmed cases, including 725 deaths 

 

Press review  

 
Malta Today: Malta customs seize 23 powerboats destined for Libya’s migrant smugglers 

UN News: Twelve migrants dead, others missing off the coast of Djibouti: IOM 

Il Manifesto: The route to Europe is a graveyard 

The Guardian: Senior Libyan coastguard commander arrested for alleged human trafficking 

 FanpageIl caso Moonbird: quando è la politica a ostacolare il salvataggio delle vite in mare [The Moonbird case: when it is politics that hinders saving lives at sea] 

Forensic Architecture: Video: Pushbacks Across the Evros/Meriç River: Situated Testimony (Preview) 

14/10-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

17 bodies of people who lost their lives in the shipwreck off Sfax, Tunisia, on Sunday have been recovered to date. The death toll is now assumed to be at 21: four or five people are still missing but must be assumed drowned, according to a Sfax judiciary spokesperson. The majority of the seven survivors rescued on Sunday are of Ivorian nationality. 

InfoMigrantsNaufrage de migrants en Tunisie : le bilan passe à au moins 21 morts 

More details have been reported on the rescue conducted by Italian-flagged offshore supply vessel Asso Ventinove. According to journalist Sergio Scandura, 68 people who had departed from Libya were rescued at sea and disembarked in Lampedusa last night. 

Also according to Sergio Scandura, the 43 people reported in distress by Alarm Phone since Sunday were rescued by an Armed Forces Malta patrol vessel. Alarm Phone reports that the distress case was first sighted by merchant vessel ALK which provided shelter until the patrol vessel arrived. 

According to the IOM, 81 asylum seekers were relocated from Malta to Germany today. 

 

Libya 

 

According to local sources, Abd al Rahman al-Milad, known as “Bidja”, was arrested outside Tripoli today, journalist Sara Creta reports. According to the UN (2018), Bidja has been affiliated with the Libyan Coast Guard in Zawiya and accused of human trafficking and smuggling and violence against migrants and refugees. 

Khaled Al-Mishri, president of the Libyan High Council of the State, met with Maltese Foreign Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo in Malta today “to discuss the state of affairs in the north African country”. Bartolo urged all parties to the conflict to respect the ceasefire agreement. 

Times of MaltaTop Libyan official in Malta for talks 

The rivalling parties to the war in Libya have reportedly agreed to continue constitutional talks brokered by the United Nations in Egypt. A first round of talks ended yesterday. The possibility of holding a referendum on the current draft of the constitution is reportedly being discussed. 

Daily SabahLibyan rivals agree to hold 2nd round of talks in Egypt after positive 1st round 

 

Press Review 

 

SOS MEDITERRANEE: [Eyes on the Central Med #4] « Shocking cycle of violence » for people fleeing Libya denounced by the UN, reinforced at sea by the EU 

The ConversationDispatch from a refugee camp during the COVID-19 pandemic 

Open MigrationI migliori articoli su rifugiati e immigrazione 38/2020 [Best articles on refugees and immigration 38/2020] 

FRANCE 24'I'd rather die at sea': The Lebanese attempting to flee to Cyprus 

InfoMigrants'Deprived of their liberty': Long-term asylum seekers in Italy who test positive for COVID-19 sent to quarantine ships 

13/10-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

According to Alarm Phone, approximately 43 people are still in distress in a storm in the Maltese Search and Rescue Region after the organisation alerted the authorities to the emergency on Sunday. 

According to journalist Sergio Scandura, Italian-flagged vessel Asso Ventinove, standby vessel of Bouri oil platform, is approaching Lampedusa with rescued people on board. 

A total of 129 survivors on three boats were rescued by the Spanish Coast Guard off the coasts of the Canary Islands this morning, according to europapress

Several people tested positive to COVID–19 on quarantine ferry Rhapsody of the GNV company. La Repubblica reported 53 infections yesterday, while La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno reported 88 cases today. 

In their Monthly Update, IOM Libya writes that the month of September was marked by a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in the country with more than 34000 registered cases since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Three organizations in Italy and Tunisia, Associazione Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione (ASGI), the Forum Tunisien pour les Droits Économiques et Sociaux (FTDES), and Avocats sans Frontières (ASF), have requested access to Italian and Tunisian government documents on the agreement concerning migration issues reached between the two countries on August 17. 

InfoMigrantsAssociations request access to Italy-Tunisia agreement 

Autonomous landings and interceptions off the coasts of Italy’s Calabria region have reportedly increased over the past months. Avvenire reports that crossings from Turkey and Greece to the South of Italy have multiplied. 

 

Libya 

 

The Libyan government reportedly discovered two mass graves in Tarhuna, northeast of Tripoli, on Monday. The total number of bodies is as of yet unknown as the exhumation of bodies is ongoing, as the General Authority for Research and Identification of Missing Persons said in a statement. The graves were likely left behind by retreating forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar. 

Anadolu AgencyLibyan government discovers 2 mass graves in Tarhuna 

Production at Sharara, Libya’s largest oil field, restarted on Sunday afternoon. The Libyan Government of National Accord and the self-styled Libyan National Army under Khalifa Haftar agreed to lift the oil blockade after nine months in September. 

Wall Street JournalLibya Restarts Oil Production at Biggest Field 
 
 

Press Review 

 

IOMStrengthened Partnerships on Migration Discussed at Seventh EU-IOM Strategic Meeting 

Deutsche WelleLesbos: Is another Moria in the making? 

Deutsche WelleGermany warns Turkey against 'provocation' in Mediterranean over gas exploration 

12/10-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

___ Central Mediterranean 

13 people reportedly died in a shipwreck off Sfax, Tunisia, yesterday. According to the Tunisian authorities, 30 people were trying to reach Italy when their boat sank. The Tunisian Coast Guard recovered the bodies of 8 women and 3 children and continues to search for missing people. 8 people have been rescued, according to the IOM

ReutersAt least 11 die as migrant boat sinks off Tunisia 

The Alan Kurdi of German NGO Sea Eye was detained after an 8-hour Port State Control in Olbia, Italy, on Friday night. Sea Eye has turned to their German flag state authorities for support, but to no avail so far. According to Sea Eye, the Alan Kurdi was certified as ready for operations by German and Spanish authorities after the ship was detained for the first time this year in May. 

Sea EyeItaly continues illegitimate repression of German rescue ships 

According to the IOM, 390 men, women and children have been intercepted and returned to Libya within the past 48 hours. 391 people were intercepted and returned to Libya between October 6 and October 12, the IOM reports. 

786 people reached the island of Lampedusa on 35 boats over the weekend. 308 people, 8 of whom tested positive to COVID–19, have been transferred to quarantine ship SNAV Adriatico on Sunday. 236 will reportedly be quarantined on the SNAV Allegra. 

AGI: A Lampedusa hotspot strapieno. Al via i trasferimenti  

AgenPressLampedusa. 308 migranti in quarantena sulla nave Snav. Otto sono positivi 

According to ANSA, the Tunisian Coast Guard intercepted a boat carrying 10 people off the city of Sousse that was reportedly headed to Italy yesterday. Another 15 people were reportedly intercepted by the Tunisian authorities off Zarzis in the night from Friday to Saturday. 

24 people of Iraqi nationality reached the southern Italian town of Santa Maria die Leuca from Greece on Sunday night. One of them tested positive for COVID–19. 7 people of Afghani, Sri Lankan and Iranian nationalities reached the town of Otranto, Italy, also from Greece, on Sunday afternoon. 

La RepubblicaSalento, sbarcano 24 migranti arrivati in barca dalla Grecia. Uno è positivo al Covid 

The Danish government has set up a working group to “avoid a new Maersk Etienne case”. The working group is supposed to analyze the events around the longest stand-off in the Mediterranean involving the tanker Etienne. Three Danish ministries, the Danish Maritime Authorities and the Danish Shipowners’ Association will participate. 

ShippingwatchRegeringen nedsætter arbejdsgruppe for at undgå ny Maersk Etienne-sag 

___ Western Mediterranean 

1015 people reached the Canary Islands in 485 boats within 48 hours between Thursday and Saturday. It is the highest number of arrivals since 2006. Increased surveillance of Mediterranean coast of Morocco might be pushing people to attempt the perilous crossing of the Atlantic to the Canary Islands to reach Spain. 

ReutersCanary Islands sees biggest migrant surge since 2006 

The Senegalese Navy intercepted two wooden canoes carrying a total of 186 people during the night from Tuesday to Wednesday last week. A Spanish Frontex vessel participated in the operation off the city of Mbour, south of the Senegalese capital Dakar. The people were reportedly trying to reach the Canary Islands. 

InfoMigrantsSenegal intercepts 186 people heading for Spain 

The Spanish Coast Guard rescued people from multiple boats over the weekend: Two boats carrying 27 and five people respectively were rescued south of Málaga on Saturday. 35 people were rescued from two boats close to Gran Canaria on Saturday night, EFE reports. 17 people were rescued off Gran Canaria on Sunday evening according to el Diario

___ Eastern Mediterranean 

Turkey dispatched research vessel Oruc Reis to the Eastern Mediterranean today. The ship was withdrawn from the Mediterranean in September, officially to conduct regular maintenance, but reportedly to avoid EU sanctions. German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas will be in Cyprus and Greece tomorrow and in Turkey on Wednesday to support negotiations in the dispute over territory and natural gas resources in the Eastern Mediterranean. Greece has called the renewed dispatch of the Turkish research vessel “a direct threat to peace”. 

TagesspiegelTürkei facht vor Maas-Besuch den Gasstreit im Mittelmeer an 

 
 

Libya 

 

On Friday, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) called for the immediate release of 60 people, including 24 children, that are being held by armed men in a warehouse in Sabratha, Libya. The group was among 350 people that were abducted from their homes in Al Ajaylat on the night of September 28. Some have since been released, others were able to escape, but according to MSF, 60 remain in captivity. 

MSF350 abducted from their homes by armed men 

 

Press Review 

 

AftenpostenSom 16-åring overlevde Hassan et skipsforlis. Nå redder han migranter i Middelhavet. [As a 16-year-old, Hassan survived a shipwreck. Now he is rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean.] Interview with SOS MEDITERRANEE SAR Team Member Hassan. 

The GuardianFootballers and fishermen: Italy's red prawn war with Libya turns ugly 

Alarm PhoneSix Years Alarm Phone: The Struggle at Sea continues 

 Il Manifesto«Navi umanitarie, sono fermi politici. L’Italia chiede requisiti inesistenti» ["Humanitarian ships, they are politically deadlocked. Italy asks for non-existent requirements".] 

Foreign PolicyThe World Needs a New Refugee Convention 

La RepubblicaLa presidente di Msf: "Basta con le navi quarantena, sono discriminatorie e aumentano il rischio contagio" [Msf President: "No more quarantine ships, they are discriminatory and increase the risk of infection".] 

Migration Policy InstituteCriminalization of Search-and-Rescue Operations in the Mediterranean Has Been Accompanied by Rising Migrant Death Rate 

RFI«Il y a encore beaucoup à dire sur le trafic d'êtres humains en Libye» ["There is still a lot to be said about human trafficking in Libya."] 

8/10-20

SAR/Political context in the Central Mediterranean 


The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor, condemned today the criminalization of Carola Rackete and the Iuventa 10 crew members in ItalyShe regretted that “they continue to face stigmatization in connection with their human rights work protecting the human rights of migrants and asylum seekers at risk in the Mediterranean Sea.” 

The Open Arms, who left the port of Palermo on Tuesday, arrived in Barcelona. They announced today that they would resupply, make technical adjustments, change the crew and “return to sea as soon as possible”.  

In an investigation published by AvvenireItalian journalist Nello Scavo says new official documents prove that only a fraction of the EU funds for Libya are destined for the promotion of human rights” and that the establishment of a Libyan Joint Coordination Centre to intercept boats at sea has been organized and paid from Italy 

The European Pact on Migration was part of the agenda of a videoconference of EU Home Affairs ministers that took place today. An online live press conference followed.  

 

Also in the Mediterranean 
 

Today, only three days after a situation report published by the Italian Ministry of Interior on the number of people landing on Italian coast, the Italian SIR information agency reports a new update from the same Ministry. Since the beginning of the week, 173 people have been registered arriving on Italian coasts, which brings the total number of people arriving by sea to up to 779 since the beginning of the month of October. 

About 20 boats were rescued or landed in the Spanish coasts these past 48 hours according to Salvamento Maritimo who reported each case in its Twitter feed 

NGOs dedicated to rescue at sea in the Eastern Mediterranean, and of which 33 members are currently under an ongoing legal procedure (see the Context Update of October 2nd), would have been spied on by the Greek government in a four-month operation. This revelation was made by the Minister of Migration Notis Mitarakis on television on Sunday. Two agents working for the Greek intelligence posed as migrants. They reportedly have been sent to a Turkish beach from where they would have contacted the rescue NGOs' whistle-blowers as reported by the French media Libération 

LibérationMigrants : Athènes lance une guerre en eaux troubles contre les ONG [Migrants: Athens launches a warfare in troubled waters against NGOs] (Article attached) 

Al Khaleej Today: Greek agents posed as migrants to pass on evidence against NGO workers 

 

In Libya 


Two Libyan vessels, repaired with the EU and Italian support, were returned to the Libyan Coast Guard today“The refitting of these two vessels has been a prime example of the constructive cooperation between the European Union, an EU member state – Italy, and Libya,” said EU Ambassador-designate to Libya, Jose Sabadell. These vessels will be used for search and rescue to save lives and tackle human trafficking and organised crime along the Libyan coast” stated the Delegation of the European Union to Libya, while the Director of the Libyan General Administration for Coastal Security (GACS) stressed that the “joint objective is the fight against trafficking and organised crime”. 

 Between March and September 2020, 465 children have been intercepted at sea and brought back to Libya after trying to reach safety in Europe, according to data collected by the International Rescue Committee (IRC). As a reminder, from January 1st until October 5thIOM Libya counted 9,448 people intercepted at sea and forcibly returned to Libya.  

 

Press review 


The New Humanitarian: Greece’s ‘new tactic’ of migrant expulsion from deep inside its land borders 
Infomigrants: Témoignages: "Il est parti dans les vagues, en criant, jusqu'à ce qu'il disparaisse de nos yeux" : l'effroyable traversée de la Méditerranée de Kandia [Testimony: "He left in the waves, shouting, until he disappeared from our eyes": Kandia's dreadful crossing of the Mediterranean Sea] 

Le Monde: Série Vidéos : La migration vue par ceux qui restent : Episode 1, au Sénégal, Daouda pleure ses fils perdus en mer Episode 2, au Sénégal, Adji raconte l’absence d’un frère [Video Series: Migration seen by those who stay: Episode 1, in Senegal, Daouda mourns his sons lost at sea; Episode 2in Senegal, Adji tells the absence of a brother]  

L’Orient le Jour: Près de 200 migrants interceptés au large du Sénégal en partance pour l'Espagne [Nearly 200 migrants intercepted off the coast of Senegal on their way to Spain] 

 InfomigrantsDeal with Lebanon makes seeking asylum in Cyprus more difficult 

7/10-20

SAR/Political context in the Central Mediterranean  


According to Alarm Phone, the 5 people onboard a boat in distress they alerted to on October 5thwere returned to Libya 

Following a complaint issued by his Italian legal guardian, an investigation will be held by the Palermo Prosecutor's Office to identifthe causes of the death of Abu Dakite, a 15-year-old unaccompanied minor rescued by Open Arms in September. He was in critical health condition when evacuated from the quarantine-ship Allegra, on September 30. An autopsy was planned to be conducted today 

Emergency and Open Arms: Precisazioni sullo stato di salute di abou dakite [Clarifications on abou dakite's health status] 

The Guardian: Death of teenage boy on Italian 'quarantine ship' being investigated 

 

Also in the Mediterranean 


Over 7,500 people who fled the fire that destroyed the Moria refugee camp in Lesbos are now living in tents among the rubble and dust of a former shooting range in an informal settlement that has become known as “Moria 2.0, with little access to water or basic sanitation. 

 

In Libya 


A Nigerian man was killed yesterday, burned alive, and 3 other men suffer burns following the attack of a factory by three Libyan men in the Tripoli neighbourhood of Tajoura, as reported by the Chief of Mission of the IOM Libya and the interior ministry of the U.N.-supported government.  

The National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) reported the registration of more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours. 


Press review 


The Guardian: Video: The captain of the Astral, rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean during the Covid-19 pandemic 

Euronews: Migranti, in Tunisia si chiedono: “Che accordo abbiamo firmato con l’Italia? Fateci vedere il testo” [Migrants: in Tunisia the question is asked: "What agreement have we signed with Italy? Let us see the text"] 

Politico: EU migration plan doomed to fail without solidarity, Greece says 

European Parliament: Report: EU External Migration Policy and the Protection of Human Rights 

 Infomigrants: Italy: Liberian dies at worksite, work permits given to coworkers 

Associated Press: Greek court rules Golden Dawn party criminal organization 

6/10-20

SAR/Political Context in the Central Mediterranean 


Yesterday evening, Alarm Phone alerted to a boat in distress, taking water, in the Maltese SAR Zone with 5 people onboard, including one in urgent need of medical attentionThe organisation said this afternoon that they lost contact with the boat and that Malta acknowledged the distress case this morning, but “doesn’t know where the boat is”.  

In the period of 28 September to 5 October, the bodies of 11 migrants washed up on shore and no survivors were returned to Libya but more than 9,400 people were returned to the war-torn country since the beginning of the yearreported IOM Libya today, in its latest weekly maritime update. 

The Italian Council of Ministers passed a new decree on migration last night, modifying the security decrees initiated by Matteo Salvini. Vessels carrying out rescues "in line with maritime law and in coordination with national authorities" will no longer be fined. However, any rescue ships deemed to be operating illegally can be punished with fines of between 10,000 and 50,000 euros, with the possibility of up to two years in prison for crew members”, summarised AFP. 

Italian Council of Ministers: Press release 

Redattore Sociale: Migrantiecco come il nuovo Decreto Immigrazione modifica i dl Salvini 

[Migrants, here's how the new Immigration Decree modifies the Salvini decrees] 

LinkiestaDopo 13 mesiIl governo modifica, ma non cancellai decreti sicurezza di Salvini [After 13 months the government amends, but does not cancel, Salvini's security decrees] 

According to the Italian researcher Matteo Villa, from ISPI think tank, stand-offs at sea have almost halved with the arrival of Lamorgese compared to Salvini’s governance, by going from 8,5 days to 4 days 

In the opening of the United Nations Refugee Agency's main annual meeting yesterday, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi criticized the European policy of closure with regards to people migrating via the sea. He especially qualified the Maersk Etienne’s historically prolonged stand-off as “shameful”, adding that "reducing search and rescue capacity, or impeding those who engage to save others, or pushing back people without due process, will not stop people from moving; it will only lead to more deaths and the further erosion of refugee protection." 
France 24: Europe's pushback of migrants 'shameful': UN refugee chief 

Le Figaro: Migrants : le patron du HCR exprime sa «honte en tant qu'Européen» [Migrants : the head of UNHCR expresses his "shame as a European"]

 
About 50 people arrived today at dawn in the Catanzaro area. It is the fourth landing in the last five days along the Ionian coast of Calabria, according to the Italian press

agency ANSA. Another 43 people arrived onboard a sailing ship in Salento, Southern Italy, yesterday. They jumped into the water to escape controls. All have eventually been tracked down by authorities. So far, 24,332 migrants have landed on the Italian coasts since the beginning of the year as reported by the Italian Ministry of the Interior 

Following the successful outcome of the PSC control she has been subjected to, Open Arms left Palermo and is currently headed to Spain.  

Between January 2018 and June 2019, more migrants and refugees arrived in Spain than in Italy, according to the latest IOM report on “trends and evolving arrival patterns through the Central and Western Mediterranean Routes”.  

 
In Libya 


A positive atmosphere prevailed in the ongoing Morocco talks between representatives of the Libyan High Council of State (HCS) and the Tobruk Parliament, loyal to the retired General Khalifa Haftar, according to Middle East Eye Monitor. An “imminent agreement on criteria for positions of sovereignty” is expected.  

 

Press review 


Infomigrants: Rescue NGOs urge Italy to stop blocking their vessels at sea 

Infomigrants: Italie : dans les navires de quarantaine, des centaines de migrants enfermés loin des regards [Italy: in quarantine shipshundreds of migrants locked away out of sight] 

Human Rights Watch: GreeceInvestigate Pushbacks, Violence at Borders (29 NGOs call on the European Parliament to “investigate allegations that Greek law enforcement officers and masked allies are summarily and unlawfully returning asylum seekers to Turkey”) 

 CollateralSaype arriva a Torino con “Beyond Walls – Oltre i muri” [Saype arrives in Turin with "Beyond Walls".] (With an Interview of Saype in which he mentions SOS MEDITERRANEE) 

5/10-20

SAR/Political context in the Central Mediterranean 

 
Three survivors onboard the quarantine-ship Azzura jumped overboard yesterday. Two were recovered but one remains missing.

A 15-year old died in a hospital in Palermo after spending 15 days onboard the quarantine-ship Allegra without getting appropriate medical attention according to its legal guardian. He had been disembarked and brought to a hospital after entering into a coma on Saturday. 

38 people arrived in Malta on Saturday, as confirmed by the Maltese Home Affairs Ministry spokesperson to Newsbook.com.mt. Alarm Phone believes it is the same boat in distress they alerted to, on Thursday night. Alarm Phone had previously reported that the Armed Forces of Malta were sighted towing the distressed boat that had previously been assisted and monitored by a Maltese commercial vessel, the Ambra. 

Times of Malta: AFM allegedly spotted towing distressed vessel in Maltese SAR zone 

The Open Arms successfully passed a Port State Control (PSC) conducted in Palermo on Saturday as reported by the Italian Coast Guard. The latter qualified it as an “important result in the context of the initiatives put in place by the Italian Coast Guard to ensure that all ships, including NGO units, carry out their activities in compliance with the specific rules”. 

Saturday’s preliminary hearing of Matteo Salvini in the Gregoretti case resulted in his trial being postponed to November 20 as the prosecutor wishes to carry out further investigations. The court summoned Prime Minister Conte as well as the current Minister of the Interior, Luciana Lamorgese, and the head of diplomacy Luigi Di Maio before ruling on the dismissal of the case requested by the defenceIn a 55-page document, the defence argues that “the waiting time before migrants disembarked was the time needed for discussions with the other European Union States, to organise, even before they set foot on Italian territory, their redistribution and their journey to their host country.” 

During a live interview on the Maltese television channel ONE, Prime minister Robert Abela urged the opposition to implement a common policy on migration focusing on the fact that Malta cannot take more pressure from migration.” Abela added that Malta “cannot consider Libya as a problem but as a country with which the EU can build good diplomatic relationships, the same way that Malta did over the past nine months.” 

At the initiative of Agora Europe, several academics and NGOs dedicated to saving lives at sea (SMH, Mediterranea and Sea Eye) signed joint declaration on rescue at sea. 

 

Also in the Mediterranean 

 

The NGO Caminando Fronteras has alerted authorities in the Canary Islands on Monday that there may have been six boats lost at sea with 274 people on board since July, according to information provided by families. 

According to the latest data published by the Spanish Ministry of the Interior, during the month of September alone, the Canary Islands have received “2,148 immigrants in 89 boats. Since January 1st to September 30, 6,081 immigrants had arrived or been rescued in the Canary Islands. 

 

Libya 


Today, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged “world powers and other countries with interests in Libya´s long-running civil war” to keep working toward a lasting cease-fire between its rival governments, warning that the country´s very future "is at stake”, reported the Daily Mail.  

 

Press review 


IOM: Report: Migration in West and North Africa and across the Mediterranean: Trends, risks, development and governance 

Al Jazeera: Eight migrants drown off Djibouti’s coast after forced off boat by smugglers 

Le Phare Dunkerquois: Dunkerque : 16 migrants récupérés dans une mer agitée et ramenés au port  [Dunkirk: 16 migrants picked up in rough seas and brought back to port] 

 Lighthouse ReliefA Farewell to the North of Lesvos 

2/10-20

SAR/Political context in the Central Mediterranean 


This morning, Alarm Phone alerted to a boat in distress “drifting in Maltese Search & Rescue zone” with approximately 38 people onboard. According to the hotline, Maltese vessel has been monitoring the boat 

Angela Caponnetto reported today that two boats coming from Turkey, with a total of about a hundred people onboard, were intercepted by the Italian Guardia di Finanza and landed in CalabriaShe added that approximately 80 other people arrived in Lampedusa from Libya last night and another boat with about 90 people landed in Lampedusa a little later  

In La Repubblica, the journalist Alessandra Ziniti revealed abstracts of an Italian official document which, according to her, “demonstrates how the Ministry of Transport wants to stop the Italian NGO [Mediterranea], despite it having abided by the regulations in place. The document, issued in May 2020 by the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, the Maritime Directorate of Western Sicily, and the Palermo Harbour Master's Office, explicitly aimed at preventing the Mare Jonio from performing rescue operations “in a stable and organised manner", adding “until the unit in question is fully certified according to the rescue regulations. As reported by the Italian newspaper, the harbourmaster's office therefore stopped recognising the provisional class certification of Rescue provided to the Mare Jonio by the Italian Ship Register (RINA), the body officially in charge of these matters. 

La Repubblica: "La Mare Jonio non deve effettuare operazioni di salvataggio in modo stabile e organizzato" ["The Mare Jonio shall not carry out operations of rescue in a stable and organised manner"(Article attached) 

Following a week-long mission to Malta from 21-26 September, the UN Human Rights Office called today for “urgent action to address the dire situation of migrants attempting to cross the central Mediterranean Sea in search of safety in Europe” as well as the urgent need to “tackle the shocking conditions they face in Libya, at sea, and – frequently - upon their reception in Europe. In particular, the press release reports “serious allegations of failure to assist people in distress at sea and possible coordinated push-backs that should be duly investigatedespecially targeting the Libyan Coast Guard and the Armed Forces of Malta. “What is happening to migrants in Malta – and elsewhere in Europe – is the result of a failed system of migration governance, one that fails to place the human rights of migrants and refugees at the centre and for too long has been marked by a lack of solidarity forcing frontline states such as Malta to bear the brunt of the responsibility,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, as reported by the Times of Malta 

UN Human Rights’ office (OHCHR): ‘Shocking’ cycle of violence for migrants departing Libya to seek safety in Europe  

Times of Malta: UN slams ‘shocking’ conditions for migrants in Malta 

Matteo Salvini will go on trial tomorrow (Saturdayon kidnapping charges over the incident that occurred in 2019, when 116 people rescued at sea were prevented from disembarking from the Italian coastguard ship Gregoretti, under the so-called "closed ports" policy. 

The Guardian: Matteo Salvini goes on trial over migrant kidnapping charges 

France 24: Defiant Salvini readies for migrant trial as allies rally 

 
Also in the Mediterranean  


According to Mare Liberum, the detention of their two ships is lifted. The German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure had introduced, mid-August, certain changes to the Shipping Safety Regulations increasing the requirements that small ships had to meet in order to be allowed to operate. The new regulation particularly affected the two vessels of Mare Liberum, effectively banning them from leaving for reconnaissance trips to rescue people in distress in the Mediterranean SeaAs reported by Die Zeit, “according to a decision by the Hamburg Administrative Court, the so-called detention orders are illegal” due to the fact that “the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure did not notify the European Commission of the changes - as would have been necessary - according to the notification directive.”  

Die Zeit: Schiffe von Flüchtlingshilfsorganisation dürfen wieder auslaufen [Ships belonging to refugee relief organisations allowed to leave] 

On Monday, the Greek police issued a press release announcing criminal investigation on 33 NGO members from four organisations and two people from “third country nationalsSeveral Greek media reported that the four NGO are: Mare Liberum, Sea Watch, FFMEV and Alarm Phone-Watch the Med. Alarm phone published a press release yesterday stating that they "will not be silenced” and calling those in solidarity with people on the move to raise awareness of and to protest against the crimes against humanity that are perpetrated on a daily basis in the Aegean”, adding that “the increase of human rights violations and push-backs is not a phenomenon happening locally from Greece towards Turkey alone (...)  Alarm Phone also witness a trend towards illegal push-backs from Malta and Italy towards Libya and Tunisia in the Central Mediterranean, as well as from Spain towards Morocco in the Western Mediterranean. 

Alarm Phone-Watch the Med: The Real Crimes are Push-backs and Human Rights Violations by the Greek Government 

Greeks News On Demand: Greece Smashes Migrant Trafficking Network, Arrests Dozens of NGO Operatives 

VimaPress:  Τέλος στη δράση ευρωπαϊκών ΜΚΟ που διευκόλυναν την διακίνηση μεταναστών από την Τουρκία στη Λέσβο [End to the action of European NGOs that facilitated the movement of migrants from Turkey to Lesvos] 

Over 1000 asylum seekers have been relocated from Greece to seven other European Member States (Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg and Portugal) through a European Commission-funded programme, reported the IOM on Wednesday     

 

Libya  


The EU has drawn up plans to deploy European military observers to Libya if a cease-fire takes hold, reports Politico. The stated objective is “for the bloc to play a more active role beyond its borders”. A draft 10-page document prepared by the EU’s foreign policy arm and obtained by Politico outlines three main optionssupporting a Libyan-led mission, contributing to a U.N-led cease-fire monitoring mechanism or establishing an EU monitoring mission. Both of the latter two options would take place under a mandate from the U.N Security Council. One of the ways to support a U.N.-led effort” would be to strengthen the mandate of Operation IRINI. The mission’s mandate could “be amended to support the ceasefire monitoring through aerial surveillance over Libya,” the document says. 

Politico: EU draws up options for boots on the ground in Libya 

 

Press review 


Dinamo Press: Mediterraneo, all’orizzonte non si vede nessuna discontinuità [Mediterranean, no discontinuity can be seen on the horizon] 

Mediterranea (with Sea-Watch, Open Arms and Doctors without Borders): Press Release: 3 October 2013/2020 in the Mediterranean: "Saving lives is not optional" 

CadenaserÒscar Camps: "Cada año que cumplimos es un año en el que la Unión Europea no ha hecho su trabajo" [Òscar Camps: "Every year that we turn in, is a year in which the European Union has not done its job"] 

BBC News: Asylum seekers: UK considered floating barriers in Channel 

InfomigrantsChannel smugglers 'made huge profits', European police 

TV5 Monde: Documentary replay: C’est la goutte d’eau [It’s a drop of water] 

30/9-20

SAR/Political context 


Nearly 70 people were rescued off the coast of Ben Guerdane, South East Tunisia, by the Tunisian Coastguard and disembarked in Tunisia yesterday as reported by the IOMAccording to the Italian press agency ANSA, the boat in distress had departed from the Libyan coast on Monday. A woman gave birth on board the boat 

ANSA: Migranti:68 subsahariani salvati da Guardia costiera Tunisia [Migrants: 68 sub-Saharans rescued by the Tunisian Coastguard] 

IOM: https://twitter.com/IOM_Tunisia/status/1311226430907396096 

 

Also in the Mediterranean 


Salvamento Marítimo rescued 65 people in distress at sea, aboard three different boatssouth of Gran Canaria, reported Europa Press. 
 

Tensions and protests arose in the Greek Malakasa camp on the outskirts of Athens after officials reported the first death of a migrant in the country due to COVID-19", reported ANSA.  

139 vulnerable asylum-seekers, including children suffering serious health problemstheir immediate families and 53 unaccompanied minors, who had been living in overcrowded Greek island camps have left for Germany today as reported by the greek media Ekathimerini.   

 

In Libya 


The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Libya has reached over 32,000 in September, according to the IOM.  
 

At the end of September, the American Stéphanie Williams, acting UN special envoy in Libya, is due to leave her post. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is stepping up his efforts to find a successor but difficulties persist, according to Radio France International: The application approved by the Americans does not suit African countries in the Security Council. According to a diplomat, they are asking for an African to fill the post but Washington has already twice obstructed an African candidacy.”  

RFI: Libyel'introuvable successeur de Salamé au poste d'envoyé spécial de l'ONU [Libya: Salamé's unfindable successor as UN special envoy] 

 

Press review 


La Repubblica: Lampedusa, il peschereccio tunisino non si ferma all'alt: la Guardia di Finanza spara e lo abborda [Lampedusa, the Tunisian fishing boat doesn't stop at the halt: the Guardia di Finanza shoots and boards it.] 

France Culture: De Tripoli à Ouaga : des scrutins à l’épreuve de l’insécurité [From Tripoli to Ouaga: insecurity-proofed polls] 

Bruxelles 2, Le blog de l’Europe politique: Le navire amiral de l’opération Irini hors de service. Le QG change de main [The flagship of Operation Irini is out of service. The HQ changes hands] 

News: «C’est la goutte d’eau» : un documentaire original et bouleversant sur la crise des migrants ["It’s the drop of water": an original and moving documentary on the migrant crisis] (This French documentary to be broadcasted on October 1st, follows a theatre company performing a original play inspired by a three-week stay aboard the Aquarius in 2016) 

 Made in Marseille: Avec l’Aquarius et Ocean Viking, SOS Méditerranée a sauvé 31 799 personnes en cinq ans [With the Aquarius and the Ocean Viking, SOS MEDITERRANEE has saved 31,799 people in five years.] (With quotes from Sophie Beau and Nick Romaniuk, following the press conference and event organised by the French association on Friday 25 and Saturday 26) 

29/9-20

SAR/Political context 


Based on testimonies, the hotline Alarm Phone estimates that six shipwrecks occurred between September 14 and 25 and that at least 190 people are missing or died in the Central Mediterranean, while survivors were rescued by fishing vessels in several instances. 

On Saturday, the IOM announced that 120 people were returned to Libya by the coastguard after facing severe distress at sea. Upon disembarkation, survivors reported to IOM staff that 15 people drowned in the shipwreck. 

The same day, Sea Watch announced that one of its aerial assets, Seabird, had spotted several boats in distress at sea, reporting a dysfunctional or absent SAR coordination as well as interceptions and forced returns to Libya. 

This past week, between September 22 and 28, 517 people were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya as reported by the IOM.  

Some of the people rescued by the Alan Kurdi and disembarked in Olbia, Sardinia on Saturday have been tested positive to the novel coronavirus while the ship’s crew have all been tested negative according to Sea Eye.  

The latest draft of the decree to modify two previous security decrees by former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini is now headed to the Italian cabinet according to the Italian press agency ANSA. The draft includes cancellation of million-euro fines placed on NGO ships. Potential jail time for activists at sea however reportedly remain. “It concerns those who don't coordinate with the maritime authorities of the countries of the flag their ships fly or who are working in rescue”, as reported by ANSA.  

Infomigrants: Italy: New decree on migration ready, Salvini regulations out 

After meeting the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell, as well as several commissioners including Ylva Johansson (Home Affairs) in Brussels, the UN High Commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi welcomed “significant advances" such as the recognition of the duty to rescue people at sea. He called for an “urgent” implementation of the new EU Pact on Migration and Asylum, stating that "there is an emergency. We have had boats in the Mediterranean for months, (migrants) pushed back, the dramatic situation of the Greek islands... The list is long. We can't wait: we have to have a better system in place before next summer and its seasonal surge of arrivals," reported the French press agency AFP, adding that "without solidarity, some countries - Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Italy, Spain - will remain in the front line, which would be profoundly unfair. Relocation (of migrants) is the most effective way to alleviate their burden". 

Le Figaro: Réforme de l'asile de l'UE: l'ONU réclame une mise en oeuvre «urgente» [EU asylum reform: UN calls for "urgent" implementation] 

 
Also in the Mediterranean  


Three people drowned and 755 were intercepted off the coast of Algeria between 20 and 25 September, according to a report by the Ministry of Defence published on Saturday.  

Infomigrants: Algeria stopped 755 from heading to Europe 20-25/9 

Le Parisien: Algérie : en dix jours, 10 clandestins noyés et 1200 autres repêchés [Algeria: in ten days, 10 illegal immigrants drowned and 1,200 others rescued] 


Cypriot coast guard forces “pushed back, abandoned, expelled, or returned more than 200 migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers coming from Lebanon during the first week of September 2020 without giving them the opportunity to lodge asylum claims”, Human Rights Watch reported today. 


Yesterday, a man was rescued by the Spanish coastguard after a 10-day journey at sea according to Europa press. The survivor indicated that he left the North African coast together with three other people on board who died during the journey. Another rescue of approximately 31 people occurred off the coast of Almeria.  

 

In Libya  


The second round of Libyan talks are due to begin today in Morocco, with the participation of representatives of the High Council of State in Libya and the House of Representatives. 

Middle East Monitor: Libya dialogue resumes in Morocco despite conflicting agendas 

Al Sharq Al-Awsat: Libyan Dialogue to Resume in Morocco’s Bouznika on Tuesday 

Bangladeshis stranded in Libya and willing to return home were to be sent back today to their country by a flight, chartered by the IOM, as reported by United News of Bangladesh. Two earlier flights in September reportedly brought back a total of 323 Bangladeshis, “including some who were rescued at sea while trying to go to Europe”. 

New Age Bangladesh: 3rd special flight to bring Bangladeshis back from Libya  

 

Press review 

 

TV5 Monde: Reportage video: Libye, comment lutter contre le coronavirus dans un pays en guerre ? [Video report: Libya: how to fight against the novel coronavirus in a country at war?] 

 RTS: "Nous constatons une fermeture progressive de l’espace de travail humanitaire et la pandémie de Covid n’a pas aidé" ["We are seeing a gradual closure of the humanitarian workspace and the Covid pandemic has not helped". (interview of Caroline Abu Sa’da, Director of SOS MEDITERRANEE Swizerland)

The New York Times: The Ship That Stopped 7,000 Migrants, and Smuggled 700,000 Cigarettes 

 Infomigrants: Italy: League rally in Sicily ahead of Salvini's hearing in Gregoretti case 

25/9-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

At least 13 people presumably drowned and 3 bodies were recovered following a shipwreck off the Libyan Coast, as the IOM reports. 22 people were rescued by fishing vessels and returned to Tripoli. 

According to the UNHCR, 124 people aboard a rubber boat were intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard and returned to Libya yesterday. 

NGO Mediterranea has announced that the Mare Jonio was stopped from leaving the port of Pozzallo by the port authorities today. Two crew members were not allowed to embark, forcing the organisation to postpone the next rescue mission. 

MediterraneaVietato soccorrere: il Governo italiano blocca anche la Mare Jonio [Forbidden to help: the Italian Government also blocks the Mare Jonio] 

RepubblicaMigranti, la Guardia costiera vieta l'imbarco del team di ricerca e soccorso sulla Mare Jonio [Migrants, the Coast Guard prohibits the embarkation of the search and rescue team on the Mare Jonio] 

The Alan Kurdi arrived in the port of Olbia, Sardinia, to disembark 125 survivors today. 

InfoMigrantsAlan Kurdi ship to disembark 125 migrants in Sardinia 

L’ExpressLe navire humanitaire Alan Kurdi a finalement accosté en Sardaigne [The humanitarian ship Alan Kurdi has finally docked in Sardinia] 

Almost all people hosted in the hotspot of Lampedusa were transferred to quarantine ferries yesterday and today. Yesterday, 477 people, 15 of whom tested positive to COVID-19, were transferred to the GNV Rhapsody, which is now anchored off Palermo. 377 people, 11 of them COVID-positive, embarked on the Azzurra, which will anchor off Augusta. 51 will be transferred to Porto Empedocle onboard a regular ferry and 37 will remain at the hotspot for now, according to Agrigento Notizie. 

Agrigento NotizieTrasferimenti conclusi: restano 37 migranti all'hotspot di Lampedusa [Transfers completed: 37 migrants stay at the hotspot of Lampedusa] 

19 people who departed from Libya on a small dinghy reached Lampedusa autonomously early this afternoon. According to Mediterraneo Cronaca, among the 19 are men of Gambian, Senegalese, Pakistani and Libyan nationalities. 

Mediterraneo cronacaMigrazioni, dalla Libia a Lampedusa 19 persone 

 

The first debate of the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs revealed that most groups in the European Parliament deem the proposal of the European Commission for the new Pact on Migration and Asylum insufficient. Many criticized a lack of concrete action, demanding, for example, a compulsory relocation of refugees. Several groups voiced concerns for the fundamental rights of those arriving at Europe’s borders in light of the proposed screening and border procedures. 

European ParliamentMEPs question whether the new Migration Pact will bring about real change 

Three of the four heads of states of the Visegrád Group (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic) met in Brussels on Wednesday to voice their disapproval of the proposal for the new Pact on Migration and Asylum. Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis insisted that screening of potential applicants for asylum should be done outside the EU, in states such as Syria and Libya. 

EuronewsPremière mise au point sur le pacte migratoire européen 

SOS MEDITERRANEE France organized a press conference yesterday at the event of the association’s 5th anniversary and to announce the day of solidarity taking place tomorrow with an exhibition and the screening of two documentaries: “Méditerranée, le nouveau cimetière des réfugiés” and “Numéro 387 – Disparu en Méditerranée” in Marseille. 

20 MinutesMigrants : « On nous empêche de sauver des vies », le coup de gueule de SOS Méditerranée [Migrants: "We are being prevented from saving lives", SOS Mediterranean's blow to the head, interview with Sophie Beau] 

AFP: Après "cinq ans de combat", anniversaire teinté d'inquiétudes pour SOS Méditerranée [After "five years of struggle", anniversary tainted with uncertainty for SOS Méditerranée, PDF attached] 

 

Libya 

 

According to differing local sources, up to five people died and more were wounded in clashes between different groups loyal to the Government of National Accord in Tajoura, east of Tripoli. 

Al ArabiyaOne dead, multiple injured in clashes between GNA factions in Libya’s Tajoura 

Hawar NewsLibyan sources: clashes among "Accord " groups, reports of killing commander of "Lions of Tajoura" 

 

Press Review 

 

ANSASicurezza: bozza decreto migranti, stop multe milionarie alle Ong [Security: draft migration decree, stopping million-dollar fines to NGOs] 

DeutschlandfunkAmnesty International berichtet von „Verschwindenlassen“ von Migranten [Amnesty International reports on “forced disappearances” of migrants] 

Al JazeeraRefugee journalists in Lesbos tell their own stories 

Al ArabiyaLebanon: Migrants flee one horror to find another in ‘death boats’ on Mediterranean 

Tagesschau.deFrankreich und die Türkei – Kraftprobe im Mittelmeer [France and Turkey – show of strength in the Mediterranean] 

24/9-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

The 125 survivors on Alan Kurdi will disembark in Olbia, Sardinia, tomorrow morning. After Sea Eye’s announcement of setting course for Marseille in absence of coordination by Maltese and Italian authorities yesterday, the French government reportedly appealed to the Italian authorities to find a solution for the disembarkation of the survivors in a closer port. According to Sea Eye, the Italian Coast Guard instructed the vessel to anchor off Arbatax, Sardinia, to shelter from bad weather last night. The Italian Ministry of the Interior announced today that in light of the deteriorating weather conditions, the survivors would be allowed to disembark in port and that 80% of the survivors rescued by Alan Kurdi would be relocated to other European countries. 

Sea EyeAlan Kurdi anchors off Sardinia 

Le Monde: Migrants : le navire humanitaire « Alan Kurdi » se dirige finalement vers la Sardaigne (Quotes François Thomas, President of SOS MEDITERRANEE France, PDF attached) 

Amnesty International has published a new report documenting accounts of refugees and migrants who have suffered or witnessed abuses and crimes such as unlawful killings, disappearances, torture, sexual violence, arbitrary detention and forced labor. More recent developments described in the report include the systematic transfer of people to unofficial detention centers after disembarkations in Libya. 

Amnesty International: LIBYA: ‘Between life and death’: Refugees and migrants trapped in Libya’s cycle of abuse (full report) 

Il ManifestoLibia, l’inferno non è solo dentro i centri. La denuncia di Amnesty 

El MundoAmnistía Internacional denuncia el "círculo vicioso" de violencia que sufren migrantes y refugiados en Libia y pide a la UE que no colabore con las autoridades 

The security decrees issued by former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Salvini in 2018/2019 are to be replaced with a new law by the current Italian government. The draft of the new security decree reportedly entails a scaling back of the fines for unauthorized entry to Italian territorial waters by rescue organisations as well as the prohibition of push-backs and deportations in some cases. Some provisions of the new draft decree remain unclear. It is reported that the government can block rescue ships that do not comply with instructions by the competent authority. Minister of Interior Lamorgese has publicly speculated whether sanctions against rescue NGOs that the new decree provides for could include criminal charges. The new decree has yet to pass the Council of Ministers. 

AdnKronosMigranti, Lamorgese: "Ipotesi sanzioni penali per ong" 

Zeit OnlineItalien will drakonische Strafen für Seenotretter zurücknehmen  

Around 90 people were relocated from Malta to France, where their claims for asylum will be processed, yesterday. 

Lovin MaltaAround 90 Immigrants Relocated From Malta To France As Part Of Agreement To Share Irregular Migration Responsibility 

The boat in distress Alarm Phone issued an alert to on Tuesday was reportedly intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard. According to Sea Watch’s Moonbird, whose crew monitored the interception, there were people in the water. It is unclear whether they could be recovered. 

 

Libya 

 

The EU has imposed sanctions on a Turkish shipping company whose vessel was accused of breaking the arms embargo on Libya. Turkey insists that the vessel was carrying humanitarian aid. 

Al JazeeraTurkey slams ‘biased’ EU sanctions over Libya arms embargo 

 

Press review 

 

WELT„Dann wäre es mit der vermeintlichen Humanität schnell wieder vorbei“ [“That would be the end of the supposed humanity”, interview with MSF Germany advocacy advisor on migration] 

InfoMigrantsMigrants à Lesbos : Paris va accueillir un total de 500 mineurs de Moria [Migrants on Lesvos: Paris will accommodate 500 minors from Moria] 

Independent.ieEU states can pay to send refugees back under new migrant rules 

23/9-20

SAR/Political context in the Central Mediterranean 

 

Today, the European Commission unveiled its proposal for a new Pact on Migration and Asylum, accompanied by recommendations on cooperation among Member States concerning operations carried out by vessels owned or operated by private entities for the purpose of search and rescue activities. It is now up to Member States to discuss it and agree with the way forward via the European Parliament and Council.  

 
The Alan Kurdi started setting course for Marseille this morning, with 125 remaining survivors onboard. The vice-mayor of Marseille, Benoît Payan, tweeted that the city would  be in favour of opening its port if the Alan Kurdi asks for it, but the French government spokesperson told AFP that “the boat must be received in the safest, closest port to allow disembarkation”, and that France “will continue to apply this rule with [her] European partners" 

Nice Matin (AFP dispatch)Marseille prête à accueillir "sans condition" le Alan Kurdi et ses naufragés [Marseille ready to welcome "unconditionally" the Alan Kurdi and her shipwrecked people] 
 

The Seabird spotted a fiberglass boat in distress with approximately 25 people onboard in the Libyan search and rescue zone as reported by Sea Watch.  

 

Libya 


In his centre piece address to the 75th session of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, warned that risks of renewed confrontation in Libya are intensifying, noting his disturbance of the massive concentration of mercenaries and weapons that violate the Security Council resolutions. 

The Libya Observer: Guterres warns of fresh round of clashes in Libya 

 
Press review 


The Guardian: EU proposes to ditch refugee quotas for member states 

BBC News: Europe migration: EU plans mandatory pact to 'rebuild trust' 
 

Deutsche Welle: EU plans tougher controls in migration policy overhaul 

InfomigrantsItaly to airlift 300 migrants from Lesbos 

Infomigrants: Italy: Six migrants found in refrigerated truck, one COVID-19 positive 

22/9-20

SAR/Political context in the Central Mediterranean  


boat in distress off the coast of Libya, with approximately 86 people onboard, has been reported this morning by Alarm PhoneAccording to Alarm Phone, the Libyan coastguard acknowledged the open case but refused to send a rescue asset. As we send this Context Update, there are no further information regarding this case 

8 people were medically evacuated from the Alan Kurdi this morningas reported by Sea Eye.  

The Seabird, one of Sea Watch’s aerial assets, has been flying over the Central Med lately. On Sunday, it spotted a boat in distress in the Maltese Search and Rescue Zone with approximately 28 people onboard. It was eventually rescued by Italian Coastguard as reported by Sea Watch.  

Yesterday, the Italian Coastguard published a Press Release on the detention of the Sea-Watch 4.  

119 people have been intercepted off the coast of Libya last nightaccording to UNHCR Libya. Between the 15 and 21 September, 476 people were intercepted at sea and forcibly returned to Libya as reported by IOM Libya’s latest update 

Yesterday, the Tunisian authorities announced they had intercepted 19 different boats in one night, carrying a total of 246 people. The majority of those aboard were of Tunisian nationality. 

On this eve of the release of the EU’s new Pact on Migration and Asylum, IOM and UNHCR published a joint press release in which they call for “a common EU action to take responsibility for search and rescue, and for disembarking people rescued at sea” and for more predictable arrangements on relocation within the EU”.  

The shipping industry (ECSA, ICS, ETF and ITF) wrote an Open Letter addressed to the European Commission to call for action to “ensure prompt and predictable disembarkations for persons rescued at sea by merchant vessels 

A coalition of human rights groups, including WeMove Europe and Oxfam filed a complaint to the European Commission concerning infringements of EU law by Greece in its treatment of people seeking asylum in EuropeThe human rights organizations address several allegations of rights violations, including continued violent pushbacks of people seeking asylum towards Turkey. 

Oxfam: Rights groups press European Commission to investigate violations of EU law in Greece over treatment of migrants 

InfomigrantsInvestigate Greek violations of EU law on migrants’ say human rights groups 

 

Also in the Mediterranean 


In the Canary Islands, the pandemic has not been hindering arrivals as reported by AFP. Since January, more than 5,100 people have made the perilous crossing from the African coast, an increase of 500 percent from the same period in 2019 

RFI: Despite virus, no letup in migrant arrivals in Canaries 
Algerian coast guard announced today that they recovered 10 bodies from the sea and intercepted a total of 485 people who were on board several boats off the Algerian coast between 15 and 19 September.  

The North Africa journal: Algeria: Migrants perish off the coast of Algeria, hundreds rescued 

La Provence (AFP dispatch): Dix noyés et près de 500 migrants interceptés au large de l'Algérie [Ten drowned and nearly 500 migrants intercepted off the coast of Algeria] 
 

Press Review 


The Guardian: How rescuing drowning migrants became a crime 

InfomigrantsRelocation, solidarity mandatory for EU migration policy: Johansson 

EkathimeriniMinister in Evros for meeting on new border fence 

CNN News: Lesbos: Hundreds test positive for Covid-19 after migrant camp fire 

21/9-20

SAR/Political Context in the Central Mediterranean 

 

 

  • On Sunday, a person reportedly attempted suicide by jumping overboard the Azzurra, one of the five quarantine ships, according to Sergio Scandura. This person has been recovered by Guardia di Finanza and brought back on board the quarantine ship. According to Majdi Karbai, member of Tunisian Parliament who released a video on Twitter, another person attempted suicide onboard the same ship three days ago. 

 

  • The crew onboard the Open Arm is undergoing a 14-day quarantine. Today is the fourth day, according to the organization.  

 

  • Since Saturday night, following an 11-hour Port State Control, the Sea-Watch 4 is being detained, in the port of Palermo, by Italian Maritime Authorities. According to MSF’s press release, the Italian coast guard announced it had discovered “irregularities of a technical and operational nature to the extent that they risk compromising not only the safety of the crew but also of those who have been or could be rescued”. United4Rescue, Sea-Watch and MSF further explained, in a joint press release, that “the main allegation is that saving lives is not in accordance with the ship's registration. The Sea-Watch 4 had too many life jackets on board and the sewage system was not designed for the number of people rescued”. 

 

  • This weekend, UNHCR Libya witnessed 219 people being forcibly returned to Libya after being intercepted at sea. 

UNHCR Libya: “128 persons were intercepted”, September 20  

UNHCR Libya: “91 persons were returned back to Libya", September 21 

 

  • A record of 26 autonomous landings within a few hours in Lampedusa and over a thousand people in the hotspot was recorded this weekend.  

RAI: Lampedusa, record di 26 sbarchi in 24 ore, hotspot supera le mille presenze [Lampedusa, record of 26 landings in 24 hours, hotspot over a thousand presences] 

Ansa: Migranti: 12 sbarchi nella notte a Lampedusa [Migrants: 12 night landings in Lampedusa] 

 

  • The Italian national ombudsman for detainee rights visited the Rhapsody, one of the five GNV quarantine ships anchored off Palermo, last week. According to Infomigrants, Mauro Palma said that he had found better conditions than those in temporary facilities provided in hotspots in the country: "The overall feeling [was one] of dignified lodgings and the professionalism of workers," the statement said. Some 868 are under quarantine onboard the ship, as part of COVID-19 regulations, 54 have tested positive for the virus but are asymptomatic. 

 

  • Nello Musumeci, head of Sicily’s region, published a statement on Facebook stating that at least 60 people rescued by Open Arms were tested positive to COVID-19 in Palermo. He deplores, among other matters, a lack of European solidarity.  

 

  • In media interviews, the EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson drew up the main lines of the Pact on migration and asylum that she will unveil officially on Wednesday. She insisted on the need for European solidarity: "the big problem is the absence of a compulsory solidarity mechanism. Countries such as Greece can rely solely on ad hoc solidarity. This is not enough. If a country is under pressure, other states members must help,” she said in La Libre Belgique. The Pact should also be focusing on returning those who were not granted asylum to their countries of origin and on the monitoring of migration routes.   

La Libre Belgique: “Il nous faut un mécanisme de solidarité obligatoire” ["We need a compulsory solidarity mechanism"] (Article attached)  

Euronews: New EU Migration Pact requires member states to take more migrants from frontline nations  

  • On Saturday, the Italian Relief Corps of the Order of Malta reported a birth onboard a dinghy off the coast of Lampedusa.  

 

Also in the Mediterranean:

 

Today, the Lebanese civil defence announced that it recovered the bodies of four people who had try to flee Lebanon to reach Cyprus. They were on a boat with about 50 people, according to some survivors who were lost for 7 days before being rescued on September 14, by the UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon), with 36 survivors onboard.  

Le Figaro: Liban : les corps de quatre migrants clandestins repêchés en mer [Lebanon: the bodies of four illegal migrants rescued from the sea

Asia News: Fleeing by the sea: mother throws her dead son into the water during crossing 

 

Libya 

 

Today, the European Union imposed sanctions on two persons responsible for human rights abuses in Libya and on three companies — one Turkish, one Kazakh and one Jordanian — for breaching the UN arms embargo on Libya. According to the decision, one of the two persons, Moussa Diab, “is responsible for and has directly engaged in serious human rights abuses including human trafficking and the kidnapping, raping and killing of migrants and refugees. He held migrants and refugees in captivity in an illegal detention camp near Bani Walid, where they were treated in an inhuman and degrading manner. Several migrants and refugees were killed when they tried to escape from the detention camp.” 

ArabNews (AFP dispatch): EU sanctions three firms for breaking Libya arms embargo 

European Council: Libya: EU imposes additional sanctions for human rights abuses and arms embargo violations 

The death toll due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Libya recently rose to 450. In a statement, Libya’s National Center for Disease Control said 16 people had died from COVID-19, while 847 people tested positive over the past 24 hours. Libya now counts 28,796 confirmed cases. 

Anadolu Agency: Pandemic claims more lives in Libya, Tunisia 

 

Press Review 

 

NBC News: 'A crisis of humanity' as migrants take on treacherous journey from France to Britain 

Euronews: New EU Migration Pact requires member states to take more migrants from frontline nations  

The Guardian: About a quarter of the UK's top earners are migrants, data shows 

Deutsche Welle: Thousands march in Berlin to demand Germany take in Moria refugees 

Libération (CheckNews): Un bateau de migrants a-t-il été escorté par la marine française avant d’être abandonné dans les eaux anglaises ? [Was a migrant boat escorted by the French navy before being abandoned in English waters?

18/9-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 
 

A shipwreck occurred 25 nautical miles west of the southern tip of Sardinia yesterday morning. The boat carrying 14 people was first sighted by Maltese-flagged merchant vessel Med Batic, which alerted the Coast Guard and rescued 7 people. 6 more people were rescued by the Italian Coast Guard. The search for one missing person is still ongoing today. All vessels in the area were alerted. Two autonomous landings of boats carrying people of Algerian nationality were reported on Sardinia. 

L’Unione SardaNaufragio nel mare del Sulcis: i migranti a Portoscuso. Nessuna traccia del disperso 

L’Unione SardaNuovo doppio arrivo di migranti nel Sulcis 

ANSAMigranti: riprese ricerche disperso in naufragio sud Sardegna 

After another night anchored off Palermo, 48 survivors jumped from the Open Arms this morning. They were recovered by the Italian Coast Guard with assistance by the Sea Watch 4, and transferred to the GNV Azzurra ferry. This afternoon, the approximately 140 remaining survivors were also transferred from the Open Arms to the ferry to undergo a 14-day quarantine. 

Mediterraneo CronacaGrandi manovre a Palermo, gente in mare, navi in porto e Ong pronte per ispezione e fermo amministrativo 

  The Sea Watch 4 was requested to enter the port of Palermo today. 

According to Algerian news agency APS, a shipwreck occurred off the Algerian coast on Thursday. Four bodies were retrieved and five survivors rescued by the Algerian Coast Guard 90 kilometers east of Mostaganem, Algeria. According to AFP, the Algerian Coast Guard continued to search for survivors as the total number of people on the boat was unclear. 

InfoMigrantsAt least 4 dead in shipwreck off Algeria 

According to Corriere della Sera, details of the EU Pact on Migration that will be unveiled on September 23rd have emerged. Solidarity with coastal and border states will reportedly not come in the form of increased relocation, as states like Italy wish, but only through financial and management support. 

Corriere della SeraNuovo patto Ue sui migranti: a rischio i ricollocamenti chiesti da Roma 

Approximately 25 people, among them women and children, have reached the Italian coast in Baia dei Campi, north of Bari, in an autonomous landing this morning. It is as of yet unclear where they came from. 

Foggia TodayMigranti sbarcano sulle coste di Vieste: circa 16 quelli rintracciati in località Baia dei Campi, ci sono bimbi piccoli 

In the coming weeks, French frigate Latouche-Tréville will be deployed to join EUNAVFOR MED Operation Irini off the Libyan coast in the Central Mediterranean. 

Ouest FranceLa France va engager une nouvelle frégate dans l’opération européenne Irini en Libye 

 
Libya 

 

Khalifa Haftar, head of self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), said today that his forces would lift the blockade on oil production in the country under the condition that fair distribution of the revenues would be ensured. However, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) has announced that they would not resume production until oil facilities would be demilitarized and LNA and foreign forces withdrawn. 

France 24Libya's Haftar agrees to lift oil blockade with conditions 

 

Press Review 

 

BloombergWorst Shipping Crisis in Decades Puts Lives and Trade at Risk 

RFILe Liban, nouvelle terre de départ pour les migrants [Lebanon, a new land of departure for migrants] 

Le MondeEn Libye, l’émergence d’une société civile protestataire rebat les cartes politiques [In Libya, the emergence of a protesting civil society is reshuffling the political cards] 

France CultureMigrants : la désobéissance sauvera-t-elle le monde ? [Migrants: will disobedience save the world?] 

VitaSe l'Europa dice ai mercantili nel Mediterraneo, “voltatevi dall'altra parte” [If Europe says to merchants in the Mediterranean, "look the other way".] 

17/9-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

75 people rescued by Open Arms jumped overboard in an attempt to swim to the shore today. The Italian Coast Guard and the Sea Watch 4, anchored close by, launched RHIBs to support the Open Arms crew. The Italian Coast Guard recovered those who jumped. The Open Arms is anchored off Palermo in Italian territorial waters without having received instructions for the disembarkation of the rescued people for the now remaining 188 survivors (all figures to be confirmed). According to Mediterraneo Cronaca, 10 rescued people already jumped overboard and were recovered when the Open Arms sought shelter off Porto Empedocle on Tuesday. 

AvvenireOpen Arms in attesa davanti al porto di Palermo. 76 si gettano in mare [Open Arms waiting in front of the port of Palermo. 76 throw themselves into the sea] 

Mediterraneo cronacaOpen Arms, 76 in mare. Adesso chi criminalizza chi? [Open Arms, 76 at sea. Now who is criminalizing who?] 

Contrary to what was reported by MSF Canada, the Sea Watch 4 did not undergo a Port State Control yesterday and their tweet was deleted. 

In a meeting with European Council President Charles Michel held yesterday, Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela said Malta was not interested in receiving more EU funds to accommodate more migrants, but insisted instead on “burden-sharing” between EU Member States. Abela criticized the lack of a “holistic policy” on the matter of migration in Europe and said that Libya had been more helpful to Malta on the topic than the EU. According to Charles Michel, the priorities for cooperation of EU States are “resources for border control, cooperation with transit and source countries, and ultimately better asylum mechanisms”. 

Times of MaltaMigration, Libya among topics discussed during European Council president visit 

Times of MaltaMalta does not want more EU funds to hold more migrants - Abela 

223 people of Algerian nationality on 15 different boats were rescued off the coast of the Spanish region of Murcia yesterday. The regional government has asked the central government of Spain for support in what they called “a migratory and humanitarian crisis” and “a public health problem”. As of early this afternoon, another 45 people were rescued off the coast of Almería, Spain, among them a woman in the late stages of her pregnancy. 

EuropapressInterceptadas 15 pateras con 223 inmigrantes a bordo este miércoles en el litoral de la Región [15 boats intercepted with 223 immigrants on board this Wednesday on the coast of the region] 

EuropapressLa Comunidad insta al Gobierno central a que "asuma sus competencias" ante la "llegada incontrolada" de pateras [The Community urges the central government to "assume its responsibilities" in the face of the "uncontrolled arrival" of boats] 

EuropapressRescatadas 45 personas, entre ellas una embarazada, de cuatro pateras en aguas de Almería [45 people rescued, including a pregnant woman, from four boats in the waters of Almería] 

Many of the people who were left homeless after the fire last week in Moria camp on Lesvos, Greece, were moved to a new camp on the island by the Greek police today. The new Kara Tepe camp was set up on a former military firing range. 

Al JazeeraPolice move refugees to new Lesbos camp after Moria fire 

According to the UNHCR, at least six cases of push-backs at sea by the Cyprus Port & Marine Police were reported this month. In some cases, the government invoked the COVID-19 pandemic to refuse people’s rights to apply for asylum by intercepting boats at sea and turning them back to Lebanon, where they departed from. The European Court of Human Rights submitted questions to the Republic of Cyprus a week ago to find out whether the people on board the intercepted vessels had requested to enter ports, whether they were offered alternative ways to apply for asylum, and what the government knows about their whereabouts. 

InfoMigrantsRefugee pushbacks by Cyprus draw attention from EU, UN 

Greek frigate Limnos has been deployed in support of Operation EUNAVFOR MED Irini in the Central Mediterranean. The Limnos is the Greek navy vessel that reportedly rammed a Turkish frigate in the Eastern Mediterranean in August. 

 

Libya 

 

Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of Libya’s internationally recognized government in Tripoli, has announced his intention to step down before the end of October as the country moves closer to finding a political solution to the conflict. According to al-Sarraj, UN-brokered talks between Libya’s rivalling factions have led to “a new preparatory phase” for the unification of Libyan institutions and preparations for parliamentary and presidential elections. 

Al JazeeraHead of Libya's GNA says he wants to quit by end of October 

 

Press Review 

 

IOMMigration in West and North Africa and across the Mediterranean 

 The New HumanitarianDon’t blame refugees for the Moria fires, blame EU policy 

Ouest FranceEn Grèce, le désespoir infini des naufragés de Lesbos [The infinite despair of the shipwrecked people in Lesvos] 

RNDKreuzfahrtschiffe für Moria-Flüchtlinge? “Ein Schiff ist besser als der Straßenrand” [Cruise ships for Moria refugees? "A ship is better than the roadside"] 

CNNMasked men, assault and abandonment [CNN Documentary filmed on board a Turkish Coast Guard vessel rescuing a group of people that was allegedly pushed back and left adrift on a life raft by the Greek Coast Guard] 

ARTESeenotrettung: Moonbird bleibt am Boden / Sea Watch : défense de secourir  

16/9-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  


According to Open Arms, yesterday, several survivors jumped overboard  and were recovered with the support of Italian coastguard following Malta’s refusal to provide shelter from bad weather. Three survivors, –two pregnant women and the husband of one of them–, were also medically evacuated yesterday evening with the Italian coastguard. The Open Arms is currently off Palermo, waiting for further instructionsthe organization reported 

According to MSF Canada, the Sea-Watch 4 is undergoing a Port State control off Italy. 

In her first State of the Union Address today, Ursula von der Leyen spoke of the new Pact on Migration to be unveiled next week (September, 23) describing it as a pact which will take a human and humane approach”, adding that “saving lives at sea is not optional and those countries who fulfill their legal and moral duties or are more exposed than others, must be able to rely on the solidarity of our whole EU.”  Regarding the European asylum system, the President of the European Commission announced that the EU will abolish the Dublin regulation and will replace it with a new European migration governance system that will have common structures on asylum and return, and a new strong solidarity mechanism” 
France 24: Dublin rule for asylum seekers to be replaced, EU’s von der Leyen says 

Le Monde: Immigration : la Commission européenne veut « abolir le règlement de Dublin », annonce sa présidente 

In an Op-Ed, the Chair of the Lloyd’s List Editorial Board Janet Porter called for an “immediate solution” to be found to cover the Mediterranean. She argued that maritime “industry leaders must keep up the pressure for some clear guidelines that will ensure ships and seafarers do not become political hostages as governments argue about who should take responsibility for those who have been rescued. 

 According to Sergio Scandura, 95 survivors arrived in Trapani, aboard the Italian supply vessel Asso VentinoveThey would reportedly be transferred on board the GNV ferry ship Aurelia, one of the 5 quarantine ships chartered by Italian authorities.  

A sixth person has been arrested by the Greek police in the ongoing investigation of the Moria camp fire. All of them are migrants according to the Greek government, and two of the them are minors “who were flown out of Lesbos following the fire and had been due to be transferred to other European Union states” according to a Greek media citing police sources.  

InfomigrantsSix migrants arrested over Moria fire 

 

Libya  


Yesterday the UN Security Council renewed UNSMIL’s mandate in Libya for another yearThe resolution 2542 (2020) has been adopted by a vote of 13 in favour to 0 against, with 2 abstentions (China and the Russian Federation).  

The United Nations Security Council also asked Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to appoint a special envoy to broker peace in LibyaInstead of solely replacing Ghassan Salamé, who headed the UN political mission until his resignation last March, according to Al Jazeera, the Security Council also agreed yesterday to split this role in two: having one person run the UN mission and a special envoy to focus on mediation. 

Libya Herald: UN Security Council renews UNSMIL mandate for another 12 months, new UNSMIL head and coordinator to be appointed immediately 
Al Jazeera: UN chief to appoint special envoy to mediate Libya conflict 


Press review 


InfomigrantsWorld Risk Report: Migrants more vulnerable due to COVID-19 

Sea Watch: Airborne Monthly Factsheet August 2020 

The Guardian: Brutality against migrants has become normal on the EU’s lawless borders 

Euronews: Germany to take in 1,500 migrants from Greek islands after Lesbos fire  

15/9-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

The Mare Jonio obtained "free practice" today, without having to undergo a 14-day quarantine. Mediterranea announced that the ship would be ready to go back to the Central Mediterranean as soon as the weather and sea conditions allow. 

Despite deteriorating weather conditions, Malta reportedly denied shelter to the Open ArmsIt’s been seven days today that the ship has been awaiting a Place of Safety for 278 survivors.  

According to the IOM-Libya’s latest maritime update, between the 8 and 14 September, “454 migrants were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya”.  

According to the IOM, over 20 migrants are reportedly missing at sea, following a shipwreck off the coast of Libya last night. Two bodies were retrievedaccording to UNHCR Libya45 survivors were returned to shore by the Libyan Coast Guard, along with survivors of two other boats intercepted. UN Migration spokesperson Safa Msehli denounced “restrictions on NGOs and long, unnecessary stand-offs" as “this new tragedy signals yet again the need for increased search and rescue capacity in the Mediterranean.  

Associated Press: U.N.: Boat capsizes near Libya; 24 migrants presumed dead 

Following the destructive fire in Moria camp on Lesbos, Greece, Ursula von der Leyen announced yesterday that the European Commission will present next week, 23 September, the pact on migration and asylum. Angela Merkel and the European Commission are reportedly ready to support the construction of a new reception center for refugees in Lesbos, a project that could be a model for future EU-wide cooperation" and a "more Europeanized migration policy" with "EU agencies directly handling asylum requests". According to EU Observer, the European Commission has described its forthcoming pact as akin to a 'house' - with an emphasis on keeping people from entering. 

Politico Europe: Commission to push forward ‘migration pact’ after refugee camp fire 

EU Debates.TV: EU debates the NEW Migration pact 'to keep people in their country' 

The Greek police announced today the arrest of five people on suspicion of arsonGreek authorities reportedly believe the fire was deliberately lit by former camp residents after quarantine measures were imposed following the discovery of COVID cases on the site 

Reuters: Greek police arrest five over Lesbos fire, migrants resist new camp 

Yesterday, a shipwreck occurred off the southern Greek island of Crete. While 56 people were rescued, three, two children and a woman, are known to have diedRescue efforts reportedly continued deep into the evening to locate more survivors, as those rescued were not able to give to the authorities the exact number of people that were onboard the boat in distress.   

Ekathimerini: Three migrants dead, 56 saved after boat sinks off Crete 
 


Libya  


The commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), General Khalifa Haftar, is reportedly refusing to release 18 Italian fishermen until Italy frees four Libyan footballers convicted of human trafficking.  

The Guardian: Libyan warlord ‘demands prisoner exchange’ with Italy for captured fishermen 

 Libya’s Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj plans to announce his resignation “soon” but will stay on “in a caretaker capacity” through negotiations for a new government in Geneva next month, according to Bloomberg.  

Bloomberg: Libyan Prime Minister Sarraj to Resign Soon, Officials Say 

 
Press review 


The New York Times: Migrants Rescued by Tanker Arrive in Italy After Weekslong Standoff 

Voice of America: EU Mulls Migration Pact in Shadow of Lesbos Fire 

Der Spiegel: Bundesregierung will 1553 Flüchtlinge aus Griechenland aufnehmen [Federal government wants to take in 1,553 refugees from Greece] 

The Guardian: Greece vows to empty Lesbos of all refugees by Easter after fire 
 

14/9-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

Of the 27 people rescued by tanker Maersk Etienne on August 5 and transferred to Mare Jonio on Friday, the pregnant woman and her husband were evacuated by the Italian Coast Guard on Saturday. The remaining 25 survivors were allowed to disembark in Pozzallo, Sicily, “for health reasons” on Sunday. Maersk has since publicly stated that ships of the company’s fleet will always render assistance to those in distress at sea and announced that the company will initiate and engage in a discussion about disembarkation mechanisms for commercial ships that take survivors on board. 

Business Insider27 migrants are suffering from 'serious' psychological conditions after being stuck on an oil tanker for 6 weeks because no country would take them 

InfoMigrantsAprès 39 jours bloqués en mer Méditerranée, 25 migrants ont pu débarquer en Sicile 

A boat in distress carrying approximately 57 people that Alarm Phone alerted to on Sunday morning reportedly reached Lampedusa autonomously later that day. 

On Friday afternoon, Open Arms performed a third rescue. The merchant ship that alerted to the distress case had reportedly been ordered by the Maltese Armed Forces not to intervene. There are now 278 survivors on board the Open Arms in deteriorating weather conditions in the Central Mediterranean. Their requests for a Place of Safety have so far been denied. The request for a medical evacuation of 9 persons, 7 who are suffering from severe burns and 2 from complications related to their pregnancies, was also denied by Maltese and Italian authorities, as Open Arms and medical NGO Emergency reported

On Saturday, Open Arms stayed with a boat in distress that had reportedly been adrift for more than 3 days with Italian and Maltese authorities not responding to the distress alert for more than 24 hours. At their maximum capacity, Open Arms handed out lifejackets to the 67 people on the boat in distress and escorted it to Italian territorial waters, where the Italian Coast Guard eventually performed the rescue and disembarked the people in Lampedusa. 

Mediterraneo cronacaA Lampedusa i naufraghi assistiti da Open Arms che ha 276 persone a bordo 

The Alan Kurdi of German NGO Sea Eye left the port of Burriana, Spain, for the Central Mediterranean on Friday night. The Alan Kurdi was detained after a Port State Control in Palermo at the beginning of May and was subsequently granted a single voyage permit to Burriana, where the Spanish authorities now reportedly lifted the detention following a Port State Control. 

According to the most recent Update on Libya by the UNHCR, 7,825 refugees and migrants were registered as intercepted and returned to Libya from January up until September 9th this year. 54 dead bodies were recovered and 48 people were reported missing in Libyan waters over the same period in 2020. The UNHCR estimates that 2,467 refugees and migrants are currently being held in detention centres in Libya. 

According to journalist Sergio Scandura, Sea Watch’s second plane Seabird was flying on the weekend, while airplane Moonbird is still grounded by the Italian authorities. 

119 people reportedly reached Lampedusa between Saturday night and Sunday morning. According to Agrigento Notizie, there are now more than 250 people at the Hotspot in Lampedusa. 

Over the weekend, the Tunisian Coast Guard reportedly intercepted two boats that had departed from the Tunisian shores. One was intercepted off Djerba and one off Sfax. 

ANSAMigranti: Guardia costiera Tunisia ferma due partenze 

This morning, a Maritime Task Force ship of the United Nations Support Mission for Lebanon (UNIFIL) rescued a boat with 37 people on board outside Lebanese territorial waters. One person on board was already deceased by the time UNIFIL reached the boat in distress. 

 

Libya 

 

The eastern Libyan government of self-styled General Khalifa Haftar’s reportedly submitted its resignation in reaction to protests over the weekend. The parliament of the non-recognized government in Tobruk has yet to approve the resignation. Recent protests in Libya were mainly triggered by growing frustrations over worsening living conditions and the country’s ongoing instability. Over the weekend, protesters reportedly set fire to the government’s headquarters in Benghazi and clashed with security forces in Haftar’s former stronghold al-Marj. A civilian was reportedly killed during the protests. 

BBCKhalifa Haftar's rival Libya government resigns after Benghazi protests 

DWLibya's eastern government resigns amid protests 

Al JazeeraLibya's eastern-based government resigns amid protests 

The National Center for Disease Control reported 433 new cases of COVID-19 in Libya on Sunday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 22,791. 

CGTN AfricaLibya reports 433 new COVID-19 cases, 22,791 in total 

ReutersLibyan medics already faced war, now the pandemic is surging there too 

 

Press Review 

 

InfoMigrantsMore than 2,230 Tunisians reach Italy in August 

The New York TimesAfter Fire Razes Squalid Greek Camp, Homeless Migrants Fear What’s Next 

InfoMigrantsLesbos migrants refuse to enter new tent settlement: ‘We’d rather die here than go to another camp’ 

The GuardianMoria’s only success has been to turn inhumanity into policy 

Deutsche WelleLesbos und die Flüchtlinge - Europa im selbstgemachten Chaos [Lesbos and the refugees – Europe in self-made chaos] 

EU ObserverMoria is EU's shame 

11/9-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

Open Arms performed a rescue of 77 people last night. 160 people are now on board. 

80 people were intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard and returned to Tripoli last night, according to the UNHCR

The Mare Jonio received a request for assistance from tanker Etienne that has been stuck outside Maltese territorial waters since rescuing 27 people on August 4. According to Mediterranea, their medical team boarded the Etienne this morning to assess the physical and mental health condition of the survivors. 

Speaking at the Med 7 Summit in Corsica, Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela said the situation in the Central Mediterranean cannot “be tackled boat by boat” and called on the European Union to support countries like Malta and Italy and to implement an agreement to avoid future stand-offs at sea. 

Times of MaltaStop dealing with migration issue ‘boat by boat’, Robert Abela says 

A Danish government official told AFP yesterday that Tunisia should open a port to the 27 people rescued by the Etienne five weeks ago since the tanker was underway to Tunisia and the rescue took place “near Tunisia”. According to the Times of Malta, the Tunisian government has so far stayed quiet on the matter. Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth reconstructed the events leading up to the rescue on Twitter, emphasizing that the operation was coordinated by the Maltese RCC and, for the most part, carried out in the Maltese SAR region. 

 

Libya 

 

Delegates of the rivalling Libyan administrations have agreed on criteria for appointments to posts in Libya’s key institutions at the so-called “Libyan Dialogue” held in Bouznika, Morocco, yesterday. Talks between representatives of both Libyan administrations and members of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) also took place this week in Montreux, Switzerland. 

Al JazeeraLibya rivals reach deal to allocate positions in key institutions  

Daily SabahGNA, Haftar delegations agree on criteria for key posts in Libya government 

Forces of EU mission Irini intercepted a tanker carrying jet fuel to Libya in possible violation of the embargo. The Marshall Islands flagged MV Royal Diamond 7, en route from the United Arab Emirates to Benghazi, Libya, is reportedly being redirected to a European port for investigation. 

Associated PressEU force intercepts tanker with jet fuel headed to Libya 

Demonstrators rallied in Benghazi, Libya’s second-biggest city and main base of military commander Khalifa Haftar, to protest against deteriorating living conditions and power cuts yesterday. 

Al JazeeraAnger in Libya's Benghazi over power cuts, living conditions 

 

Press Review 

 

WDR MonitorFlüchtlingsrettung: Handelsschiffe als Geisel der EU-Flüchtlingspolitik [Sea rescue: merchant ships as hostages of EU refugee policies] 

+++ The Lloyd’s List PodcastShipping stuck in the middle of Europe’s migrant crisis 

 InfoMigrantsDanish government: Pushing migration outside Europe’s boundaries 

Le MondeUn cargo danois est bloqué depuis cinq semaines en Méditerannée avec 27 migrants à bord [A Danish cargo ship has been stranded for five weeks in the Mediterranean with 27 migrants on board] 

RFIEU agrees to accept 400 minors left homeless after Moria refugee camp blaze 

10/9-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  

 

According to Sea-Watch, all Sea-Watch 4 crew members have been tested negative to COVID-19 by the Italian Red Cross yesterday. 


According to the IOM’s Missing Migrants Project, since mid-August, 48 bodies have washed ashore at Libyan coasts following 4 reported shipwrecks. The organisation estimates that at least 54 other people could have died at sea in those incidents.  

Yesterday, at the end of day, Alarm Phone alerted to boat in distress with approximately 75 people,"including dozens of women and children”, off the coast of Libya. As of now, there has been no further information published regarding this case.  

The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) and the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) called on the EU Commission to coordinate a solidary solution for the disembarkation of the 27 survivors on board Maersk Etienne in a Place of Safety. 
 

Today, Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR special envoy for the Central Mediterranean, called on States to facilitate SAR NGOs work “if they do not want to assume their responsibility", on Twitter 

Little remains of Moria refugee camp after a second fire destroyed nearly everything that had been spared in the original Tuesday night blaze, leaving approximately 12 to 13,000 people in need of emergency housing. The government is sending three ships to help house 2,000 people. A four-month State of Emergency has been declared in Lesvos for “public health reasons”. Yesterday, Germany also pushed for an urgent reform of the EU's migration policies, with a government official telling the French press agency AFP it was all the more crucial to act quickly following this fire, while today, German and France announced a plan to relocate 400 unaccompanied minors to “other parts of the European Union. 

Associated Press: Little left of Greece's Moria refugee camp after 2nd fire 

Greek City Times: Lesvos Four month state of Emergency declared 

BBC News: Moria migrants: Greek ships to help shelter 13,000 after fire 

France 24 (AFP dispatch): Germany calls for 'urgent' EU migrant reform after Lesbos disaster 

Deutsche Welle: MoriaGermany, France forge deal to relocate 400 children from Greek camp 

 
 
Libya 


According to IOM Libya, this week, the organisation assisted 153 Bangladeshi in eastern Libya return home through its Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme. “The EU-supported charter was the first VHR flight to depart from Benghazi in more than one year”.  

The John Hopkins institute recorded 879 new cases of COVID-19 and 10 new deaths in Libya yesterday. There are now 20,462 confirmed cases and 324 deaths listed. Libyan authorities renewed their appeals to citizens residing in areas where COVID-19 virus is widely spread not to leave their region. 

Asharq al-Awsat: Libyans Asked Not to Leave Infected Areas to Limit Virus Spread 

Today, Human Rights Watch accused Libyan armed groups linked to the Tripoli-based government (GNA) of using heavy weapons to disperse anti-corruption rallies last month in Tripoli and of detaining, torturing and forcibly disappearing protesters.  

Human Rights Watch: Libya: Armed Groups Violently Quell Protests 

 

Press review 


Belfast Telegraph: NI charity Refugee Rescue suspends work in Greek waters 

Politis: Le Louise Michel contre le naufrage moral de l’Europe [The Louise Michel against Europe’s moral shipwreck] (Article attached, with a quote by François Thomas) 

 International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC): Migrants and refugees “least protected, most affected” in COVID crisis, warns IFRC President 

9/9-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

Open Arms rescued 83 people last night, among them 5 women and 3 children. 

IOM Libya reports that 76 migrants, including 4 women and 2 children, were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya by the Libyan Coast Guard last night. 

50 people reached Lampedusa on two boats today. A boat with 24 people that had departed from Tunisia was found in Italian territorial waters close to Lampedusa by the Italian Coast Guard, while a boat carrying 26 people including women and minors that had departed from Zuwara reached the port of Lampedusa autonomously, according to Mediterraneo cronaca

According to AFP, the evacuation of 2500 people from the hotspot in Lampedusa to quarantine ships was completed yesterday. There are now a total of 5 quarantine ferries in operation: Rhapsody, Allegra and Azzurra of the GNV company, and the Adriatico and Aurelia of SNAV. The ships are docked in Augusta, Palermo and Trapani. 

According to first estimates, a fire destroyed 70% of containers and tents in Moria camp on Lesvos, Greece, overnight. 

Associated PressGreece: Fire sweeps through refugee camp on virus lockdown 

The New York TimesFire Destroys Most of Europe’s Largest Refugee Camp on Greek Island of Lesbos 

350 people arrived on the Canary Islands in less than 48 hours. 145 people arrived in four boats on Wednesday and 200 people were rescued from eight boats on Tuesday. On one of the boats rescued on Tuesday, a person had died during the crossing. Six boats reached the island until midday today. Reception facilities on the Canary Islands are overcrowded, ad-hoc solutions such as tents on the pier in Arguineguín, Gran Canaria, and tourist accommodations are being used as accommodation for first reception. 

El DiarioCanarias registra la llegada de 350 migrantes en menos de 48 horas, 150 de ellos este miércoles 

 

Press Review 

 
MaltaToday[WATCH] ‘Please tell my family I am alive’ – Maersk Etienne migrant’s message in a bottle 

The ShiftWATCH: Captain explains how Malta ordered his vessel to save migrants and left crew to deal with it for over a month 

 AvvenireLe autorità aeronautiche bloccano l'aereo di Sea Watch. Ma no anomalie [The aviation authorities block Sea Watch's aircraft. But no irregularities] 

Wall Street JournalShip With 27 Migrants Locked in Limbo for More Than a Month 

ArteNuméro 387 - Disparu en Méditerranée / Nr. 387 – Ertrunken im Mittelmeer 
 

8/9-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

According to the IOM, 2 bodies washed up on shore in Sabratha, Libya, on September 3rd

Over the weekend, the situation on board tanker Etienne, anchored off Malta since rescuing 27 survivors on August 4, deteriorated to the point that 3 rescued people jumped overboard. They were recovered by the crew. The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) have issued a joint statement calling on states to find a solution. The ICS has called on the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to intervene. 

Shipping journal Lloyd’s list and AFP report that the Danish government is in talks with the Tunisian authorities to let the 27 survivors disembarks in Tunisia. 

Press ReleaseICS, UNHCR and IOM call on States to end humanitarian crisis onboard ship in the Mediterranean 

EuronewsIt’s time the EU ended the cynical stalling game endangering lives in the Mediterranean 

CSDMCSDM, Alarm Phone, Sea-Watch and Mediterranea request urgent intervention from UN Special Rapporteurs for 27 migrants on board ‘Maersk Etienne’ 

According to Sea Watch, the Italian authorities have grounded the Moonbird, the plane the organisation uses to monitor the Central Mediterranean. 

Approximately 800 people were transferred from the hotspot in Lampedusa to the quarantine ship GNV Rhapsody on Saturday. Another 113, among them 53 who tested positive to COVID-19, were transferred to the Rhapsody on Sunday, raising the total number on board to 867. The SNAV Adriatico is currently in Lampedusa to take approximately 300 people on board. Once the transfer is done, the ship will anchor off Augusta, where the GNV Azzurra is also anchored. The Rhapsody will join the GNV Allegra to anchor off Palermo. 

RepubblicaLampedusa, gli 804 migranti trasferiti alla nave quarantena con un peschereccio 

Mediterraneo cronacaLampedusa, “Rhapsody” attraccata e prefetto Di Bari in arrivo 

La SiciliaLampedusa, trasferimento migranti a rilento ma hotspot quasi vuoto 

Amnesty International released a report citing “multiple failures to respect and protect the rights of refugees and migrants at sea” by the Maltese authorities. In the report, Amnesty International traces back current unlawful practices to flawed EU policies and the lack of a cohesive approach among EU member states, calling on the European Union to prioritize Search and Rescue activities. 

Amnesty InternationalMALTA: WAVES OF IMPUNITY (Full report) 

German SAR NGOs and activists have put up 13.000 empty chairs, the number of people currently held in Moria camp on Lesvos, in front of the German parliament building on Sunday to raise awareness for the humanitarian emergency at Europe’s borders. Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases of COVID–19 infections in the overcrowded Moria camp has risen to 17. 

Tagesschau.de13.000 Stühle für Moria 

EkathimeriniConfirmed infections at Moria migrant camp continue to rise 

Internal communication from the German Ministry of Transport published on the weekend proves that a change in regulations that effectively prohibited German-flagged pleasure crafts from being used for rescue or monitoring missions was deliberately made to stop such operations. The Ministry insists that the changes in regulations were made out of safety concerns. German NGO Mare Liberum has submitted an appeal for an accelerated response to their legal proceedings. 

FAZBremst das Verkehrsministerium die Seenotretter aus? [Is the Ministry of Transport stopping sea rescuers?] 

SpiegelDas Verkehrsministerium drangsaliert Seenotretter [Ministry of Transport harasses sea rescuers] 

 

Libya 

 

According to the Anadolu Agency, there are now 17,094 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Libya. 272 people have reportedly died so far. 

Delegates of the rivalling Libyan administrations met for talks in Morocco on Sunday. According to Al Jazeera, leaders of the Government of National Accord and the Libyan National Army met for talks in Montreux, Switzerland, yesterday and today. 

Al JazeeraRival Libyan administrations hold talks in Morocco 

 

Press Review 

 

Lloyd’s ListShipping and the law on rescuing migrants 

InDepthNewsMigrants Prefer Returning to Libya Than Staying in Tunisia 

4/9-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean  


It has been a month today that the 27 people rescued by the Maersk Etienne have been awaiting a Place of Safety. The Danish company published a note written by the survivors expressing their gratefulness towards the crew as well as their profound despairIn a video statement, the Captain of the vessel called again for an urgent solution to be found. 

Times of Malta: Watch: Captain makes desperate appeal following four-week standoff 

UNHCR called for support from other EU Member States for "countries at the forefront of arrivals in the Mediterranean, to help prevent tragic and unnecessary loss of life at sea”.

The 90 people reported in distress by Alarm Phone yesterday were eventually rescued in the evening by the Italian Coastguard and the Guardia di Finanza. They disembarked in Lampedusa 

 According to Ansa, following the arrival of the Sea-Watch 4 to Palermo Wednesday evening, the NGO reportedly expressed concerns regarding potential “vexatious initiatives” to be taken by the Italian government regarding the vessel “like it did with the Sea-Watch 3 and other humanitarian ships that carried out rescues in recent months." 

Infomigrants: Sea-Watch worried Italy could take 'vexatious initiatives' 

 

Italy 


Anwar Seid, a 20-year-old Eritrean boy was killed in a car accident in Sicily while trying to flee from his reception centerYesterday, many residents of this center had climbed on the roof and staged a protest against their living conditions.  

Associated Press: Migrant dies after getting hit by car while fleeing camp with poor living conditions in Sicily 

Redattore Sociale: Siculiana, la protesta: “Nostri diritti calpestati. In quarantena da un mese, non siamo detenuti” [Siculiana, the protest: "Our rights trampled. Quarantined for a month, we are not detained"] Interview of a resident of the center 

 

Libya  


UN General Secretary, Antonio Guterres called for the closure of all detention centres holding refugees and migrants in Libya, in a report submitted on Thursday to the UN Security Council.  

Al Jazeera: UN chief urges closure of all migrant detention centres in Libya 

 

Press Review 


Euronews: New political party representing second-generation migrants launches in Italy  

 The Independant‘Left to rot’: Inside Libya’s squalid detention centres where migrants and refugees suffer a ‘slow death’ 

3/9-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

According to the captain of Danish-flagged tanker Maersk Etienne, the situation for the 27 survivors rescued on August 5 and the crew on board is becoming “increasingly difficult” with rescued people threatening to throw themselves overboard in despair. Food and water rations are reportedly running low while frustration and tensions among those on board are rising. 

Times of MaltaMigrants on oil tanker threaten to jump overboard 

Alarm Phone published an alert to a boat in distress in the Maltese SRR carrying approx. 90 people this afternoon. 

The coordinator of a task force established by the Sicilian Regional Health Department to evaluate the conditions in the 40 hotspots and reception centres in Sicily and Lampedusa has sounded the alarm about the hotspot in Lampedusa in an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. According to the professor of Forensic Medicine, there is “an imminent and concrete risk of  safety for everyone” in the hotspot. He has called for the hotspot to be shut down completely to be rebuilt from the ground up in a new location. 

Corriere della SeraLampedusa, chiude l'hotspot: «Stanze inagibili, letti all'aperto, a rischio la salute di ospiti e personale» [Lampedusa, closes the hotspot: "Uninhabitable rooms, outdoor beds, at risk of health of guests and staff".] 

Mediterraneo cronacaHotspot Lampedusa, “condizioni contrarie a tutte le regole di prevenzione delle patologie diffusive” [Lampedusa Hotspot, "conditions contrary to all rules of prevention of transmittable diseases"] 
 

 

Libya 

 

In an update on the situation in Libya to the UN Security Council on Wednesday, Stephanie Williams, acting head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), said the COVID–19 pandemic in Libya seems to be “spiraling out of control” with the number of confirmed cases more than doubling in the past two weeks. Concerning migrants and refugees attempting to flee Libya via the Central Mediterranean, Williams called on European countries to establish “a more humane and predictable disembarkation mechanism” and recalled that Libya is not a safe port for disembarkation. 

UN NewsSecurity Council support ‘in action’ for Libya, crucial for its future, declares UN mission chief 

Municipal elections are held in Misrata, western Libya, today. The Government of National Accord (GNA) has accused Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) of disrupting the elections. According to Al Jazeera, the local polls could pave the way for nationwide elections. 

Al JazeeraLibya's GNA: Haftar allies disrupting municipal elections in east 

 

 

Press Review 

 

France 3 Provence Alpes Côtes d’Azur: 19/20 (Interview of Sophie Beau) 

Mediapart: Marseille ouvre son port (symboliquement) aux migrants naufragés [Marseille (symbolically) opens its port to shipwrecked migrants, with interview of Fabienne Lassalle, SOS MEDITERRANEE France Deputy Director, PDF attached] 

ZDF: Raus aus der Hölle – Geflüchtete berichten von Camps in Libyen [Out of hell – refugees report from camps in Libya], German version of M6 documentary filmed partly on the Ocean Viking in October 2019 by Étienne Huver 

InfoMigrants33 migrants test positive for coronavirus at Sardinian center 

Die ZEIT"Bitte tun Sie irgendwas, wir haben keine Zeit mehr. Die Leute sterben" [“Please do something, we are running out of time. People are dying.”] 

2/9-20

SAR/Political Context in the Central Med 


The Sea-Watch 4 completed the transfer of the 353 survivors on board the quarantine ship Allegra this afternoon. The operation has been live broadcast by LocalTeamTV. 

In a declaration published yesterday, Maersk Tankers called for “urgent humanitarian assistance and a safe disembarkation from MV EtienneAccording to the Times of Malta, the oil-tanker warns supplies are rapidly running out for all survivors onboard“The situation is getting more and more tensed” according to Maria Skipper Schwenndirector of the Danish Shipping company, quoted by Infomigrants. 

On Monday, the European Commission's spokesman on migration “urged Malta to allow the landing of the 27 migrants”. Adalbert Jahnz “also called on member states to show more solidarity in the resettlement of the migrants disembarked in Valletta.” According to the Times of Malta, Maersk Tankers’  that the rescue was coordinated by Maltese authorities is being denied by the Maltese government. 


Times of Malta: Maersk Tankers warns supplies running out for migrants, crew on board 

InfomigrantsMaersk Etienne : la Commission européenne exhorte Malte à autoriser le débarquement des migrants secourus [Maersk Stephen: European Commission Urges Malta to Allow Disembarkation of Rescued Migrants] 

Times of Malta: Brussels urges Malta, Italy to disembark stranded migrants 

The European Commission reportedly stated that EU purse strings are open for member states to hold migrants on boats offshore, - under certain legal conditions”, according to EU observer. Among those conditions, the Commission would have mentioned the fact that “people on board must have access to asylum procedures in order to secure EU funds” and “the money can only be used to finance food, medical assistance, and boat personnel”. Whilst this statement follows Maltese media reports that the government in Valletta intends to spend over €1m a month to detain migrants and refugees on a large Cypriot-flagged passenger ship, potentially de facto creating a floating hotspot, it is “not linked to the specifics of Malta's decision, according to the European media.  


EU Observer: EU money can be used to offshore migrants on boats 

This morning, the 18 survivors onboard the Asso Ventinove landed in the Port of Pozzallo, according to the Mare Jonio crew, who reportedly witnessed the disembarkation. 

 
Italy/Malta 


A Sudanese man died after trying to escape from a detention center in Malta. According to the Times of Malta, an inquiry is being held 

The general strike planned in Lampedusa to protest against the increase in migrant arrivals has been postponed by the Mayor of the island after Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte invited him to Rome, together with Sicily Governor Nello Musumeci, to discuss how to manage migrant reception.

A woman staying at a migrant holding center in Lampedusa, tested positive to coronavirus, has given birth to a baby on board a helicopter as she was being flown to a hospital in Palermo. 

 


Libya 

 

A loud blast hit Tripoli yesterdayAccording to Reuters, local television stations reported that “a suicide bomber on a motorbike had detonated a device” but there was no immediate official confirmation. If confirmed as an attackit would be the first in more than a year. 

 

Press Review 


MSF: Search and rescue: Sea-Watch 4 allocated port of safety 11 days after first rescue 

InfomigrantsWounded officer: 'Fear? I was thinking of the migrants' [Interview of wounded Italian finance police officer who got injured in Crotone accident] 

Infomigrants: Austrian leader Sebastian Kurz: Opening Europe’s borders was a mistake 

Associated Press: Migrants trying to reach Europe pushed to deadly Atlantic 

Voice of America: In COVID-19 Migration SurgeAfricans Take a More Dangerous Route 

Franc24: Don’turn backs on refugees, Alan Kurdi’s aunt pleads  

20 minutes: En ouvrant son port, la ville peut-elle sortir les bateaux de sauvetage de « situation épouvantable » ? [By opening its port, can the city get the rescue boats out of "terrible situations"?] 

France Inter: Fabienne Lassalle : "En Europe, l'Italie se retrouve largement seule pour faire face au drame des réfugiés" [Fabienne Lassalle: "In Europe, Italy finds itself largely alone to face the refugees’ tragedy".] 

1/9-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

According to the IOM, 408 people were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya in the week from August 24 to 31.

The Sea Watch 4 was assigned a Place of Safety. 353 survivors will be transferred to a quarantine ship in Palermo, Sicily, tomorrow.

Today, German rescue organization Sea Eye has announced the intention to buy a new ship. According to Sea Eye, an agreement has already been found with a German shipowner to purchase a ship that will be named “Ghalib Kurdi” after Alan Kurdi’s older brother who also drowned on September 2nd, 5 years ago. The ship, which has not yet been revealed, should be operational in the course of this year, according to Sea Eye.

According to Sea Watch from today’s Moonbird observatory mission, offshore supply vessel Asso Ventinove rescued 18 people from a sinking wooden boat yesterday. The survivors report that three people have gone missing from the boat in distress.

Yesterday, according to Agence Europe, the European Commission called on all "Member States to collaborate urgently and in a spirit of solidarity" with countries facing arrivals of NGO boats looking for safe ports of disembarkation in the European Union. Following today’s news on the Sea Watch 4 disembarkation, we have no new information regarding a plan of relocation for the survivors. 

Agence Europe: Les États membres appelés à agir après plusieurs sauvetages de migrants en Méditerranée centrale [PDF attached] 

 

Libya 

 

Josep Borrell, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, emphasized that Libya remains a top priority for the EU during a meeting with President of the Libyan Government of National Accord al-Serraj in Tripoli today. 

 

Press review 

 

AvvenireLa situazione sull'isola. «A Lampedusa nessuna polveriera» [The situation on the island: “No powder keg in Lampedusa”] 

InfoMigrantsTourists in Lampedusa say 'migrants here like ghosts' 

The New HumanitarianCOVID-19 fallout drives Tunisians to Italy despite deportations 

BBCHundreds of migrants still dying in Med five years since 2015 

Daily SabahHaftar forces block entrance into key Sirte province, Libyan army says 

31/8-20

SAR/Political Context in the Central Med

 

_____ Civil SAR 

 

The 10-person crew on M/V Louise Michel assisted 130 people on a rubber boat in distress spotted by Moonbird in the Maltese SRR on Friday night. The rubber boat also carried the body of a deceased person. Unable to take all of the survivors on board, Louise Michel deployed life rafts to carry 33 people while awaiting assistance. With 219 rescued people on board and the life raft by her side, the ship lost her maneuverability. According to accounts of the 130 survivors, three people died during the crossing in addition to the deceased person that was found on board the rubber boat. The Louise Michel communicated publicly on the authorities’ unresponsiveness to their request for assistance. Eventually, the Italian Coast Guard evacuated 49 of the most vulnerable survivors from the Louise Michel to Lampedusa and took the body of the deceased person on Saturday evening. On Saturday night, all remaining survivors were transferred from Louise Michel to the Sea Watch 4

EuronewsLa Guardia Costiera italiana interviene in aiuto della Nave di Banksy 

New York TimesBanksy-Funded Rescue Vessel Evacuated After Distress Call  

The Sea Watch 4 is awaiting a Place of Safety with more than 350 survivors on board. 

This weekend, Michèle Rubirola, the mayor of Marseille, has announced the city’s willingness to welcome the Louise Michel and then also the Sea Watch 4 for the disembarkation of the 350 survivors, calling on the French government to take responsibility. The French government’s spokesperson Gabriel Attal did not react to the offer of the city of Marseille but called for coordination at EU level. 

L’ExpressSea-Watch 4 : les rescapés du Louise-Michel vont-ils être accueillis en France ? [Sea Watch 4: Will the refugees of Louise Michel be welcomed in France?, with interview of François Thomas, president of SOS MEDITERRANEE France, PDF attached] 

La ProvenceMarseille prête à ouvrir son port [Marseille ready to open its port, with interview of Fabienne Lassalle, Deputy Director of SOS MEDITERRANEE France] 

France InfoMarseille ouvre son port au Louise Michel [Marseille opens its port to the Louise Michel, Interview with Benoît Payan, Deputy Mayor of Marseille] 

26 days after rescuing 27 people, including a pregnant woman and a baby, on August 5, Danish-flagged tanker Maersk Etienne is still awaiting a Place of Safety, anchored outside Maltese territorial waters. 

The Maritime Executive: 24 Days After Migrant Rescue, Maersk Tanker Still Stuck Off Malta 

The IOM and UNHCR have called for the urgent disembarkation of survivors from Etienne and Sea Watch 4 in a joint press release issued on Saturday. 

IOM/UNHCRUNHCR and IOM call for urgent disembarkation of rescued migrants and refugees in Central Mediterranean Sea 

According to Sea Watch, a rubber boat carrying people with no life vests was spotted by Moonbird yesterday. Later in the day, Moonbird spotted the same rubber boat again, the people on board having been equipped with life vests by the Armed Forces of Malta directing the boat towards Italy, according to Sea Watch, in the meantime. The boat reached Sicily autonomously. 

Mediterranea announced on Saturday that the Mare Jonio would leave the port of Augusta for her next mission in the Central Mediterranean 2 days sooner than planned to respond to the emergency situation involving Louise Michel. As of this afternoon, the Mare Jonio is in the port of Pozzallo and hasn’t left for the Central Med yet. 

Open Arms’ sailing vessel Astral provided the Louise Michel with supplies on Saturday. The Astral is now in Syracuse. 

On Friday, Moonbird observed an interception in the Maltese SRR by Libyan Coast Guard’s Al Khifa. 

 

_____ Italy 

 

A boat in distress carrying more than 20 people caught fire and exploded while the transfer of the survivors to Port Authority vessels off Crotone, southern Italy, was ongoing. According to ANSA, three people died and one person went missing. Five of the survivors were wounded and taken to the hospital. 

HuffPostMigranti, barca si incendia ed esplode al largo nel Crotonese 

ReutersAt least three migrants die as boat catches fire off Italy 

TG1Video report 

In reaction to the uptick in arrivals and the lack of assistance by the national authorities, Lampedusa mayor Totò Martello has called for a general strike on Sunday. The initiative of Nello Musumeci, governor of Sicily, to close all hotspots and reception centers on the island under the guise of public health concerns was rejected by Italian courts last week. 

DWLampedusa mayor calls for 'strike' over migrant arrivals 

A boat carrying approximately 370 people at the risk of capsizing (initial reports estimated 450 people) was escorted to the port of Lampedusa by Italian Coast Guard and Guardia di Finanza vessels on Saturday night. Approximately 500 people reached Lampedusa in almost 40 autonomous landings on Friday and Saturday. Coast Guard and Guardia di Finanza patrol vessels have started transferring people from the hotspot on Lampedusa, which held more than 1500 people on Saturday night, to Sicily. 

ANSAMigranti, altri 370 sbarcati a Lampedusa 

According to media reports, the Italian government has used Italian Coast Guard and Guardia di Finanza vessels to transfer people staying in the overcrowded hotspots to other parts of Italy and will commission three new ships in addition to the GNV’s Azzura and SNAV’s Aurelia that are currently in use for quarantining survivors offshore. The additional ships should be operational on Wednesday. 

APItaly acts to reduce migrant overcrowding on Lampedusa 

Mediterranea cronacaLampedusa, il Governo riscopre le navi della Guardia Costiera 

 

_____ Other 

 

According to UNHCR spokesperson Safa Msehli, more than 400 people were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya on Friday and Saturday. 

According to news outlet The Shift, the Maltese government will commission the MV Galaxy, a Cypriot-flagged RO/RO passenger ship that can accommodate more than 350 passengers to detain/quarantine rescued people offshore at a cost of more than one million Euros per month. While the Maltese government reportedly intends to use EU funds, the responsible institutions have once again, as earlier this year, signaled that this might not be possible due to human rights concerns over the practice. 

The ShiftEXCLUSIVE: Prime Minister to spend €1m a month to detain migrants on ship 

According to Malta Today, 32 people rescued “over the past few days” in Malta tested positive for COVID–19 within 24 hours. 

MaltaToday32 migrants rescued at sea test positive for COVID-19 

  

Libya 

 

Fayez al-Sarraj, prime minister of the UN-backed Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), has suspended the GNA interior minister Fathi Bashaga amidst widespread protests against poor public services and for improved living standards. Bashaga being investigated for supporting the street protests. Al-Sarraj has also appointed a new defence minister and army chief in a government reshuffling in reaction to the protests. 

The GuardianLibya peace-building efforts in doubt amid government infighting 

Al JazeeraLibya: GNA's al-Sarraj appoints new defence minister, army chief 

A delegation of the Turkish government is expected in Russia today for bilateral talks on regional developments in Libya and Syria. 

Hürriyet Daily NewsTurkey, Russia to hold talks on Libya, Syria 

According to the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), some 10,000 persons are currently missing in Libya. A large percentage of the recorded disappearances in Libya are linked to human trafficking and slavery. 

Al JazeeraLibya civil war: 10,000 people missing, rights group says 

 

Press Review 

 

The National'For each person missing, there is someone waiting for news' 

RfiFive key moments in 2015 migrant crisis 

Le soirEurope et migrants: «On ne laisse pas un être humain se noyer. Point final!» [Europe and migrants: "You don't let a human being drown. Full stop!"] 

 

_____ Eastern Med/military build-up 

 

EuroNewsTensions rise in Eastern Mediterranean after Turkey launches new military drills 

The Washington PostTurkey accuses Greece of ‘piracy’ over eastern Mediterranean 

28/8-20

Central Med/SAR context update:

 

 

  • Sea Watch also reported that Moonbird spotted a wooden boat in distress with approx. 40 people onboard and a Libyan Coast Guard patrol boat with approx. 25 people, who were previously intercepted, onboard. Moonbird later spotted a rubber boat in the Maltese SAR zone with approx. 40 people onboard.  

 

  • This morning, IOM Libya reported that 230 people were intercepted and returned to Libya in the space of 24 hours. 

 

  • 16 boats with over 260 Tunisians on board arrived -autonomously or rescued by Italian patrol boats- in Lampedusa last night. The Azzurra quarantine ship arrived in Lampedusa yesterday for the transfer of approx. 600 people from a hotspot. 

 

 

  • The Captain of the Talia, which rescued 52 people almost two months ago and was not allowed into a port for days, released a video message in support of the Maersk Etienne, yesterday. 

 

Today, 29 Members of the European Parliament wrote a letter to the Maltese Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs, urging them “to put an end to this unacceptable and inhumane situation and to let the people disembark in Malta. […] As in the past, we will work to ensure that the people rescued are distributed among the EU Member States”. 

 

More on the Maersk Etienne situation: Infomigrants, 23 jours d'attente et 27 migrants à bord : situation ''intenable'' et floue sur le Maersk Etienne [23 days of waiting and 27 migrants on board: "untenable" and unclear situation on the Maersk Etienne] 

 

  • Last night, a few hours after the Louise Michel completed a rescue of 89 people, The Guardian published an article entitled “Banksy funds refugee rescue boat operating in Mediterranean”, as an exclusive. This article launched the official unveiling of the Louise Michel project, sponsored by street artist Banksy, and was widely relayed. The Louise Michel mission was kept discreet before that. MV Louise Michel now has a website, calling for donations, and a Twitter account

AFP: Banksy au secours des migrants, affrète un navire en Méditerranée / Banksy funds Mediterranean refugee rescue boat 

  

  • Yesterday, the Regional Administrative Court of Sicily suspended President of Sicily Nello Musumeci’s ordinance on the closure of hotspots on the island for this matter is outside the competence of regions. The administrative court, seized by the government, also considered "that no rigorous investigation has shown the existence of a concrete aggravation (...) of the spread of Covid-19 among the local population as a result of the migratory phenomenon". The Court is due to meet again on 17 September, at the request of the Region of Sicily, which intends to present further documents to plead its case.

 

AFP: Italie : la justice italienne rejette un arrêté anti-migrants de la Sicile [Italy: Italian court rejects an anti-migrant order from Sicily]

 

  • Yesterday, Palermo Mayor Leoluca Orlando and Montpellier Mayor Michaël Delafosse (twin towns) published an appeal for the release of the Ocean Viking with a call to sign the online petition (ENGITFR). It was published by French daily “Libération” today. 

 

Press Review: 

 

Avvenire: Migranti. Sicilia, laboratorio di paura. Tra fake news, Covid e terrorismo islamico [Migrants. Sicily, laboratory of fear. Between fake news, Covid and Islamic terrorism] 

Al Jazeera: Migrants stuck for three weeks on cargo ship off Malta: Charity 

NY Times: Italy Foreign Minister Shares Blackface Images of His Summer Tan 

26/8-20

SAR/Political context: 

 

The MAERSK ETIENNE oil tanker is still anchored off Malta waiting for a Place of Safety to be assigned for the disembarkation of 27 people rescued on August 4 (Marine Traffic). 

One teenage boy suffering severe fuel burns was medically evacuated from the Sea Watch 4 to Lampedusa by the Italian Coast Guard today (MSF). The Sea Watch 4 is currently waiting for a Place of Safety, in international waters east of Lampedusa, with 201 survivors onboard. Earlier today, Mediterraneo cronaca mentioned that “the Italian, Maltese and Flag State authorities were informed about the condition on board and the request for a place of safety […], but until last night no reply was received by the captain of the rescue vessel”. 

The quarantine ship Aurelia has docked in Lampedusa for the boarding of a bit less than 300 people who were in a hotspot on the island. According to ANSA, priority of embarkation was given to about 70 people who tested positive for COVID-19. More than 800 people were expected to remain in the hotspot. 

Open Arms’ Astral left Syracuse today and is heading towards the Central Med. 

According to IOM Libya, in the period of August 15-24, 326 people were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya. 

A major Search and Rescue operation has been going on since last night in the eastern Aegean Sea, with so far 96 people rescued overnight from a yacht in distress, the Greek Coast Guard said, amid heightened tension between Greece and Turkey (AP).

 

Press review: 

 

Central Med:

Lampedusa, une île dépassée par l’afflux des migrants, ARTE Regards (in French or German) [Lampedusa, an island overwhelmed by the influx of migrants] 

Sea Watch 4, evacuato a Lampedusa un minore ustionato, Mediterraneo cronaca [Sea Watch 4, a burnt minor evacuated to Lampedusa] 

Migrants: sur la Méditerranée, une situation «intenable» et «mortelle», RFI [Migrants: on the Mediterranean, an "untenable" and "deadly" situation - Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui (MSF) and Vincent Cochetel (UNHCR) quoted, Ocean Viking mentioned] 

Mediterranea 'nearly ready' to resume migrant rescues, Infomigrants 

Sicily's governor issues decree ordering refugee camps to be closed, Euronews (25/08) 

Migranti, cresce il popolo degli invisibili, Repubblica 

Eastern Med and France/UK:

EU weighs options to pull Greece and Turkey back from brink, AP

Exercice militaire européen en Méditerranée orientale, sur fond de tensions gréco-turques, Le Monde [European military exercise in the eastern Mediterranean against the backdrop of Greek-Turkish tensions] 

Syrian NHS worker pleads for compassion with video projected on White Cliffs of Dover, Metro UK 

24/8-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

The crew on Sea Watch 4 has conducted a third rescue this morning after the rescue of 7 people on Saturday and 97 people on Sunday. There are now more than 200 people on board, according to Sea Watch

22 bodies were retrieved by the Libyan Red Crescent in Zuwara on Sunday, UNHCR spokeswoman Safa Msehli reported. It is not yet confirmed whether they might be casualties of the shipwreck that killed 45 people on August 17. 

InfoMigrants22 bodies retrieved off Libyan coast 

According to Alarm Phone, four shipwrecks occurred in the Central Mediterranean in the week from August 13 to August 20, killing more than 100 people. In addition to the shipwreck of August 17 that was confirmed by UN agencies last week, Alarm Phone assumes that 3 more shipwrecks occurred: Two on August 18 (one shipwreck with an estimated 30 casualties off Libya and another shipwreck off Tunisia in which three people drowned) and one on August 15. 

Alarm PhoneFour shipwrecks in one week off Libya 

602 people quarantined on the Azzurra tested negative to COVID-19 and disembarked in Trapani today. According to ANSA, they will be relocated within Italy. 

Sea rescuers of the Spanish Coast Guard are considering going on strike to protest against financial cuts by the government and the lack of personnel. A spokesperson of the majority union of the sea rescuers said the rescuers are “overwhelmed” with the shipwrecks and tragedies off the country’s shores and that cuts on resources and staff results in loss of life at sea. 

SERLos trabajadores de Salvamento Marítimo "desbordados" ante tanta tragedia estudian ir a la huelga 

The Maltese government still plans to charter a ship to quarantine up to 200 rescued people offshore for up to a month if tested positive for COVID-19. The tendering process is delayed since one of the bidders filed an appeal. 

Times of MaltaMigrant quarantine ship delayed after bidder files appeal 

Yesterday, the governor of Sicily, Nello Musumeci, published a decree calling for the closure of all hotspots and welcome centers on the island as of midnight today. Musumeci cites health concerns as a reason for this step, according to critics the move aims at leveraging “the migrant crisis” for political gains. The decree entails a bloc on migrants arriving to/transiting through Sicily. 

The governor of Italy’s north-western region of Piedmont also called for a stop to transfers, claiming that migrants pose a risk to public health and safety. 

InfoMigrantsSicily’s governor orders closure of all migrant hotspots and welcome centers 

InfoMigrantsMigrants in Italy: Piedmont governor calls for transfer stop 

AdnKronosSos Mediterrannée, "ordinanza Musumeci provocazione ma messaggio politico forte a Roma e Ue" [SOS MEDITERRANEE, "The Musumeci order is a provocation but a strong political message to Rome and the EU", interview with Valeria Taurino, General Director of SOS MEDITERRANEE Italy] 

 

 

Libya 

 

Several hundred people protested against living conditions and against the Government of National Accord in Tripoli on Sunday. The protest was dispersed by armed men firing gunshots in the air, as Reuters reports. 

ReutersProtesters dispersed by gunfire in Libya's capital 

A spokesman for the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) has dismissed the announcement of the ceasefire by the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA). According to the spokesperson, GNA forces are mobilizing and military build-up is ongoing around the contested city of Sirte. 

Al JazeeraHaftar rejects GNA's call for Libya ceasefire 

 

 

Press review 

 

France Info"Au XXIe siècle, on ne ne peut pas laisser les gens se noyer sous nos yeux", alerte SOS Méditerranée qui exige la libération de l'Océan Viking [“In the 20th century, we can’t let people drown before our eyes” warns SOS MEDITERRANEE, demanding the release of the Ocean Viking, interview with Sophie Beau] 

La StampaIl genio e i soldi di Banksy in una barca per aiutare i migranti in difficoltà [Banksy's genius and money in a boat to help migrants in need] 

Spiegel.deGeflüchteter über libysche Gefangenschaft: "Selbst wenn die Menschen die Flucht überleben, stirbt etwas in ihnen" [Refugee about detention in Libya: “Even when people survive fleeing, something within them dies”] 

Die WeltRettungsschiff der Evangelischen Kirche hat bereits über 200 Menschen an Bord [Already more than 200 people on board the protestant church’s rescue ship] 

InfoMigrantsLibya: First IOM migrant repatriation after 5-month pause 

21/8-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

The Spanish Coast Guard located a boat with 15 deceased persons on board yesterday (initially estimated at 10 casualties). The bodies were transferred to Gran Canaria. The Spanish Coast located another boat south of Gran Canaria with 12 survivors and five deceased yesterday. Two of the rescued people were evacuated via helicopter, one of them died and the other was treated for hypothermia. 

El Periódico de CanariasCinco muertos en un cayuco rescatado por Salvamento al sur de Gran Canaria 

In an official statement, the Maltese Home Affairs Ministry said the Armed Forces of Malta “have been constrained” to save 118 people in the Maltese Search and Rescue Region yesterday, among them 10 women, a newborn baby, and five children.  

Times of MaltaArmy saves 118 drowning migrants in Malta's search and rescue zone 

Lovin’ Malta‘We Had No Other Option’: Maltese Brigadier Explains Crucial Decision To Rescue 118 Migrants From Sinking Dinghy 

267 people reached Lampedusa between yesterday evening and this morning, some autonomously, some rescued by the Guardia di Finanza. There were just under 1500 people in the hotspot of Lampedusa this afternoon, which was built for 192 people, and both quarantine ships chartered by the Italian authorities are at maximum capacity. Regional governments and mayors are protesting and raising the obstacles for redistribution of those who reached Lampedusa. Today, the mayor of Trapani prevented the Aurelia, one of the quarantine ferries, from anchoring in the port of Trapani. 

RepubblicaLampedusa in emergenza, il grido del sindaco: "Sull'isola non sono garantite le norme sanitarie e di sicurezza" 

AdnKronosMigranti, 267 arrivati nella notte a Lampedusa 

AdnKronosMigranti, sindaco Lampedusa: "Pronto a proteste clamorose" 

More information on the shipwreck killing at least 45 people on August 17 has emerged. According to testimonies of survivors in Italian media and via Alarm Phone, their engine broke down near an oil field after having departed from Zuwara at 4am. Armed men on a boat – some testimonies name a “Libyan patrol boat” and “militia men” – reportedly offered to tow them back to the Libyan shore in exchange for their satellite phone but later tried extorting more money and firing shots at the boat, causing the engine to explode and catch fire. 37 people could be rescued by Libyan fishermen. 

InternazionaleLe voci dei sopravvissuti della strage di Ferragosto 

Il manifestoNaufragio del 17 agosto: «I miliziani ci hanno sparato» 

 

Libya 

 

The Libyan UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) announced an immediate ceasefire today and called for a demilitarization of the contested city of Sirte. GNA President Fayez al-Sarraj also called for parliamentary and presidential elections in March. The aim of the Truce, according to Sarraj, is to impose full sovereignty over the entirety of the Libyan territory. 

Al Jazeera: Libya's UN-recognised government announces immediate ceasefire

 

Press Review 

 

La CroixMigrants : mortelles traversées en Méditerranée [Deadly crossings on the Mediterranean, with quotes of Sophie Beau

Libre Belgique: Les morts s’accumulent au large de l’Europe [More and more deaths off the coasts of Europe, PDF attached

BBCChannel crossings: People smugglers 'not behind migrant death' 

Malta TodayFirst cruise ship following COVID-19 closure to arrive in Malta on Friday 

20/8-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

45 people, among them 5 children, lost their lives in the largest shipwreck documented so far this year off the coast of Libya on Monday. 37 people, mainly from Senegal, Mali, Chad and Ghana, were rescued by local fishermen. They were detained upon disembarkation in Libya. 

IOM, UNHCRIOM, UNHCR Call for Urgent Action after 45 Die in Largest Recorded Shipwreck off Libya Coast in 2020 

AvvenireAlmeno 45 migranti, tra cui 5 minori, morti in un naufragio. Si salvano in 37 

Tagesschau.de45 Flüchtlinge sterben bei Schiffsunglück 

El PaísMueren 45 migrantes africanos en el peor naufragio en la costa libia en lo que va de año 

InfoMigrantsMéditerranée : au moins 45 migrants périssent au large de la Libye, pire naufrage de l'année dans cette zone 

According to an IOM spokesperson, two boats were intercepted and returned to Libya last night, one carrying 32 and one carrying 68 people.  

Yesterday, Spanish authorities located a boat with the bodies of approximately 10 people some 85 miles south of Gran Canaria. The shipwreck was spotted by a plane that was searching for a boat carrying around 40 people that had left Mauritania on August 15 and had since been unaccounted for. 

According to Spanish authorities, 99 people were rescued by the Spanish Coast Guard on Wednesday while 23 people reached Mallorca autonomously. 

APSpain finds shipwrecked migrant boat with around 10 dead 

The Louise Michel, a civilian rescue ship not belonging to any association or NGO, is on her way to the Central Mediterranean (Marine Traffic). The ship and operation are financed by an anonymous sponsor. 

The only article to date about the Louise Michel is from March 2020: Le TélégrammeLe bateau de sauvetage Louise-Michel fait peau neuve à Camaret 
 

Danish-flagged tanker MAERSK ETIENNE is still anchored outside Maltese territorial waters, waiting to be assigned a Place of Safety. According to Maersk Tankers, the ship has been denied a port for disembarkation by the Maltese and Tunisian authorities and supplies on board are quickly running low. 

ReutersMaersk oil tanker caught at sea off Malta after rescuing 27 migrants 

InfoMigrantsÀ bord du Maersk Etienne, 27 migrants toujours en attente d’un port où débarquer 

 

Press review 

 

InfoMigrantsItalian regions oppose transfer of migrants from Lampedusa 

Foreign PolicyCould Libya Be Partitioned? 

19/8-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

The body of a 16-year-old Sudanese boy washed up on the shore in Sangatte, France. The boy drowned in the attempt to cross the English Channel to reach the United Kingdom. AFP reports that he attempted the crossing with another young Sudanese who could be rescued from a rubber boat. According to the IOM, a total of 64 deaths were registered on this route since 2014. 

The IndependentChannel crossings: 16-year-old Sudanese boy washed up on French beach after drowning trying to reach UK 

According to the IOM, 74 people were intercepted at sea and returned to Tripoli by the Libyan Coast Guard last night. 12 people were intercepted and returned to Zuwara. The UNHCR reported the interception and return of approx. 80 people to Tripoli during the night. 

Astral, the sailing yacht of NGO Proactiva-Open Arms, has set sail from Badalona to the Central Mediterranean today. 

115 people were rescued by the Italian Coast Guard and disembarked in Crotone, Italy, last night. The survivors of Afghan, Syrian, Iranian and Somali nationalities report having departed from Antalya, Turkey. 

AnsaMigranti: nuovo sbarco a Crotone, arrivati in 115 

The Aurelia, second quarantine ship chartered by the Italian authorities after the Azzurra, took on board 250 people from the hotspot in Lampedusa today, among them approximately 15 persons who tested positive for COVID-19. The ferry reached Lampedusa yesterday but was unable to dock due to weather conditions. 

AnsaMigranti: nave quarantena attracca, via all'imbarco di 250 

The IOM has reported 4 deaths in the port of Valencia within a week: On August 7, two people drowned after jumping off a ship once it reached the port and on August 15, the bodies of two people of Algerian nationality who suffocated in a container were found. 

German authorities have ordered the detention of two ships, the “Sebastian K” and the “Mare Liberum” of German NGO Mare Liberum today. Mare Liberum had recently expressed the intention to resume their human rights observation mission in the Aegean Sea despite a change in safety regulations imposed by the German Flag State that neither of their ships are able to meet (more information here). 

Mare LiberumGermany detains ships of human rights organization Mare Liberum 

A person who crossed the English Channel in a rubber dinghy from France was attacked upon arrival on a beach near Deal, Kent county, England. 

The IndependentMigrant attacked only moments after landing on Kent beach 

 

Press Review 

 

Ouest FrancePOINT DE VUE. Réfugiés sans refuge et solidarité réprimée aux portes de l’Europe [Refugees without refuge and repressed solidarity at the gates of Europe] 

Daily SabahMigrant crossings in central Mediterranean more than doubled in July, EU agency says 

InfoMigrantsMigrant arrivals to Europe increase as COVID-19 restrictions ease 

18/8-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

According to UNHCR, approximately 30 people, most of them from Bangladesh, were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya last night. 258 people were intercepted and returned to Libya in the week from August 10 to 17, according to the IOM

The Sea Watch 4, financed by German civil society alliance United4Rescue at the initiative of the German Protestant Church, operated by Sea Watch with an MSF medical team on board, departed from Burriana, Spain, for her first rescue mission in the Central Mediterranean on Saturday. 

EuroNewsLa nouvelle mission de MSF et Sea Watch marque la reprise des sauvetages de migrants par des ONG 

Spiegel Online"Sea-Watch 4" startet ersten Hilfseinsatz 

RNDUN-Expertin: Private Seenotrettung überlebenswichtig 

According to Alarm Phone, a shipwreck occurred in the Libyan SRR yesterday. If confirmed, approximately 65 people must be feared dead. There has not been any confirmation from other sources yet. 

Over the weekend, Alarm Phone reported multiple distress cases. 

240 people reportedly reached Lampedusa during the night from Monday to Tuesday with 5 boats reaching the island autonomously and one being rescued by the Guardia di Finanza. There are now more than 1000 people at the hotspot in Lampedusa. A planned transfer to quarantine ship Aurelia has not been possible yet due to weather conditions and a transfer to Porto Empedocle had to be postponed because the ferry intended for the transfer was damaged. According to Giornale di Sicilia, 728 people arrived on Lampedusa on Saturday and Sunday. 

SkyCinque sbarchi con 210 migranti a Lampedusa, oltre 1000 in hotspot 

A second quarantine ship chartered by the Italian authorities has reached Lampedusa today. The Aurelia will have the capacity to quarantine 293 people. 

Giornale di SiciliaLampedusa, arriva la seconda nave quarantena "Aurelia" ma non riesce ad attraccare 

AnsaMigranti: nave quarantena arrivata in porto Corigliano 

The cook on board the Azzurra was reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 and brought to a health facility in Palermo. Of the 603 people currently quarantined on board, 24 tested positive for COVID-19 so far. 

Il SiciliaCoronavirus: nuovo caso sulla nave quarantena Azzurra, positivo il cuoco dell’imbarcazione 

On a visit to Tunis on Monday, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio said that Italy was ready to support Tunisia economically and politically to combat “illegal migration” and that Tunisians reaching Italy illegally could not stay in the country. EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi promised 10 million Dollars to support Tunisia in border management. 

InfoMigrantsEn Tunisie, les autorités italiennes assurent ne plus vouloir de migrants illégaux

189 people have been transferred from Italy to other European countries in accordance with the Malta agreement since the lockdown in the context of COVID-19. France has taken in 59.86% of the quota the French government pledged during the negotiations of the Malta agreement, Germany has fulfilled 53.24% of its quota. 

Governo italianoDopo Malta trasferiti 689 richiedenti asilo, 189 dopo il lockdown 

As can be seen on Marine Traffic, Danish-flagged tanker ETIENNE (Maersk) is still waiting for a Place of Safety outside Maltese territorial waters after the crew rescued 27 people in the Maltese SRR under the coordinate of the Maltese RCC on August 5. 

One week ago, French president Emmanuel Macron announced that France would reinforce its military presence in the Eastern Mediterranean. Macron also called for a peaceful dialogue between Greece and Turkey to ease tensions over natural resources in the Eastern Mediterranean. 

FranceInfoTensions en Méditerranée : Emmanuel Macron annonce un renforcement de la présence militaire française 

Tagesschau.deMacron schickt mehr Militär ins Mittelmeer 

Al JazeeraProject Force: Battle for resources in the eastern Mediterranean 

 

Libya 

 
German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas visited Libya yesterday. In light of the ongoing armament of both conflict parties and their international allies, he warned a renewed escalation of the conflict and championed the idea of a demilitarized zone in and around the city of Sirte. Maas also called for the closure of the detention centers in which many of the migrants in Libya are arbitrarily detained. 

DW.deMaas warnt vor "trügerischer Ruhe" in Libyen 

France24German foreign minister warns of 'deceptive calm' in Libya 

12/8-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

141 people were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya from August 4 to August 9, according to the IOM. 23 people were intercepted and returned yesterday (IOM) and approximately 75 people on August 10 (IOM). 

Tanker ETIENNE is still waiting for a Place of Safety off Malta after the crew rescued 27 people from distress at sea a week ago on August 5. 

Times of MaltaSix days of uncertainty for migrants on oil tanker 

As announced late last week, the Tunisian authorities have adopted additional means to stop departures from Tunisian shores. Tunisia will reportedly deploy naval units, surveillance technology, and search teams at crossing points. 

InfoMigrantsTunisia cracks down on migrant departures 

Mare Liberum, a German NGO operating human rights monitoring missions in the Aegean Sea on German-flagged Pleasure Craft MARE LIBERUM, have announced the resumption of their mission despite a change in German safety regulations that immobilized their ship earlier this year. Mare Liberum announced on Twitter that they consider the change in regulations void. 

Soldiers onboard the German Navy vessel “Berlin”, stationed in the Aegean Sea, have repeatedly witnessed the Greek Coast Guard pushing boats in distress back into Turkish waters. One of such incidents has now been confirmed by the German government. 

WeltMarine beobachtet Zurückdrängen von Migranten-Booten im Mittelmeer 

 

Libya 

 

France, Italy and Germany are reportedly pushing for EU sanctions against companies and individuals providing weapons to Libya in violation of a United Nations arms embargo. According to Al Jazeera, the sanctions are to target companies from Turkey, Jordan and Kazakhstan as well as two individuals from Libya. 

Al JazeeraGermany, France, Italy to push ahead with EU sanctions over Libya 

 

Press review 

 

+++ The New HumanitarianThe legal battle to hold the EU to account for Libya migrant abuses 

Times of Malta14 companies bid to hold migrants in offshore quarantine centre 

The Guardian: 'Entire families are arriving at our shores': Covid drives Tunisian exodus 

Deutschlandfunk.deItaliens Innenministerin begründet gestiegene Zahl von Migranten mit Krise in Tunesien [Italian Minister of the Interior explains rising number of migrants with crisis in Tunisia] 

BBC: BBC and Sky accused of 'voyeurism' in coverage of migrant boats

El País: La ruta canaria se convierte en la más arriesgada para llegar a Europa [The Canarian route becomes the most risky to reach Europe]

Human Rights WatchMigrants Face Trial after Resisting Return to Libya as Children 

7/8-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

According to the IOM Missing Migrants Project, a boat carrying 63 people that set sail to the Canary Islands on July 18 has disappeared. It is not defined where the boat has departed from. SAR operations were reportedly launched after NGOs published alerts to the distress case, but the boat remains unaccounted for. 

The quarantine ship Azzurra returned to Lampedusa to embark more survivors this afternoon. 12 of the 350 people who were already quarantined on board since Tuesday have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. According to journalist Sara Creta, approximately 600 people are now on the Azzurra.

Mediterraneo cronacaAzzurra, la nave quarantena scomparsa dai radar torna a Lampedusa 

In a meeting held in Tripoli yesterday, the Foreign Ministers of Libya, Malta and Turkey agreed to increase cooperation between the three nations. Malta and Turkey have announced their readiness to provide equipment to the Libyan Coast Guard. Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Çavuşoğlu noted that the Turkish Coast Guard had provided two boats to the Libyan Coast Guard and would repair existing vessels. 

PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR FOREIGN AND EUROPEAN AFFAIRS Joint statement by the foreign ministers of Libya, Malta, and Turkey  

HürriyetTurkey, Libya, Malta 'agree on joint cooperation' 

235 people on 17 boats were intercepted crossing the English Channel from France to England on Thursday, the highest number recorded in a day. A total of 3948 people have crossed the Channel so far this year. 

BBCChannel migrants: 235 people in 17 vessels stopped in one day 

 

Press review 

 

+++ LibérationSOS Méditerranée : «Nous sommes le quatrième navire à avoir été arrêté» [“We are the fourth ship to be blocked”, interview with Louise Guillaumat, SOS MEDITERRANEE Deputy Director of Operations] 

+++ Libération«Ocean Viking» : solidarité bloquée sur le quai des bulles [Solidarity blocked at the dock, double page with new illustration by Hippolyte]

Al JazeeraTurkey's Cavusoglu slams German role in EU's Libya mission 

6/8-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

Today Sea Watch, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) and the German civil society alliance United4Rescue, initiated by the German protestant church, have announced that a new rescue asset, the Sea Watch 4, will soon start operations in the Central Mediterranean. United4Rescue gathered funds to purchase German-flagged former research vessel Poseidon, renamed Sea Watch 4, which Sea Watch will operate while a 6-person MSF team will provide medical support on board. 

MSFMSF and Sea-Watch announce collaboration to save lives at sea 

Le MondeMSF s’allie à l’ONG Sea-Watch pour reprendre les sauvetages en Méditerranée en août 

German NGO Sea Eye has filed a lawsuit against the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport and the Palermo Port Authorities in an administrative court to fight the detention of the Alan Kurdi. According to Sea Eye, the German flag state authorities have confirmed that the Alan Kurdi possesses the necessary safety certificates and complies with relevant environmental standards. It is the opinion of the German flag state authorities that the exceptions to those regulations apply after rescues at sea, according to Sea Eye. 

InfoMigrantsSea-Eye sues Italian ministry of transport for detaining migrant rescue boat Alan Kurdi 

Süddeutsche ZeitungSeenotrettungsverein Sea Eye verklagt Italiens Behörden 

According to UNHCR special envoy Vincent Cochetel, a shipwreck occurred off the coast of Nouadhibou, Mauritania. Approximately 40 people were reportedly on board, one person survived. 

France24Dozens feared drowned after migrant boat sinks off Mauritania 

According to Alarm Phone, Danish-flagged tanker ETIENNE that rescued approximately 27 people in the Maltese SRR yesterday remains outside Maltese territorial waters and has not been assigned a Place of Safety. 

 

Press Review 

 

Les Inrockuptibles: Navire de SOS Méditerranée immobilisé : “On nous empêche de sauver des vies” [SOS MEDITERRANEE ship blocked: “We are stopped from saving lives”, interview with Sophie Beau] 

InternazionaleA Lampedusa si torna indietro di dieci anni sull’immigrazione [We look back on ten years of immigration on Lampedusa

Arab NewsItaly defense ministry seeks closer ties with Libya 

5/8-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

On Tuesday morning, the new quarantine ship GNV Azzurra arrived in Lampedusa. 350 people embarked on the Azzurra to be quarantined on board. The Azzurra can accommodate a maximum of 700 survivors. Approximately 700 people remained in the reception center on Lampedusa. 

Mediterraneo cronacaLampedusa come nel 2011, ma il centro di accoglienza rimane sovraffollato 

According to the IOM, 330 people were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya in the week from July 27 to August 3. 

The IOM Missing Migrants Project documented 29 deaths in the Mediterranean from Wednesday, July 29 to Sunday, August 2. 21 deaths and missing persons were recorded on the Libyan shore or in Libyan waters, 3 people died and 7 went missing in the Alborán Sea. 

Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio has called for a new accord on migration with Tunisia. The accord should be modeled on an agreement between Italy and Albania in the late 1990s, which allowed Italy to ''stop, seize and sink boats'' used for crossings. The six-point plan presented to the government in Tunis includes the possibility of repatriating Tunisian nationals not only by plane, but by boat. Di Maio also called on EU governments to relaunch the relocation mechanism that was agreed in Malta last September. 

InfoMigrantsItaly's foreign minister Di Maio calls for 'new accord on migrants with Tunis' 

The bodies of seven people of sub-Saharan origin were recovered off the coast of Tarfaya, Morocco, on Monday. According to Alarm Phone, a boat that also departed from Tarfaya with approximately 63 people went missing two weeks ago. 

InfoMigrantsMaroc : les corps de sept migrants repêchés après un naufrage 

For the first time since 2008, the number of people reaching the Canary Islands, Spain, has exceeded 3,000 this year. Meanwhile, the total number of “irregular migrants” reaching Spain by sea and by land has decreased by 38,1% this year in comparison to the same period in 2019. 

EFECanarias supera las 3.000 llegadas de inmigrantes por primera vez desde 2008 

According to Sea Watch, Danish-flagged tanker Maersk ETIENNE has rescued 27 people in distress who were spotted by Moonbird in the Maltese Search and Rescue Region today. This afternoon, the tanker was heading towards Malta. Details about the disembarkation are as of yet unknown. 

 

Press Review 

 

+++ SOS MEDITERRANEE Germany: Menschen ertrinken im Mittelmeer – zivile Rettungsschiffe gezielt festgesetzt [People drowning in the Mediterranean – civil rescue ships in detention, joint Press Release by SOS MEDITERRANEE Germany, Sea Watch and Sea Eye] 

Taz: Weil Rettungsschiffe festgesetzt sind, ertrinken im Mittelmeer Menschen, kritisiert Jana Ciernioch [Because rescue ships are detained, people are drowning in the Mediterranean, Jana Ciornioch criticizes, Op-Ed by Jana Ciernioch, SOS MEDITERRANEE Germany Advocacy Officer, PDF attached] 

InfoMigrants3 NGOs warn of escalation in Mediterranean if their vessels are not released for duty 

Konbini NewsLe navire humanitaire Ocean Viking immobilisé par les autorités italiennes [Humanitarian ship Ocean Viking blocked by Italian authorities

ADIFFatti e mistificazioni sui soccorsi in mare [Facts and myths about rescue at sea

Open MigrationI migliori articoli su rifugiati e immigrazione [The best articles on refugees and immigration

InfoMigrantsLeading German politician visits Greek migrant camp and tells the EU to 'wake up' 

EkathimeriniSecurity concerns halt German official’s visit to migrant camp 

ReutersGreece sees fewer migrant arrivals from Turkey, partly due to pandemic, minister says 

+++ The New Humanitarian: What happens to migrants forcibly returned to Libya? 

Al JazeeraGermany deploys 250 soldiers for Libyan arms embargo mission 

AL-MonitorEgypt, Turkey show off naval strength in eastern Mediterranean 

31/7-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

The Italian Ministry of the Interior has reportedly commissioned a new ship to quarantine survivors. The ferry owned by Grandi Navi Veloci will reportedly have space for 600 to 700 survivors and should take those currently quarantined in the hotspot on Lampedusa and in Porto Empedocle onboard. According to ANSA, the Ministry of the Interior is looking for a second quarantine ship to be sent to Calabria. 

AnsaMigranti: nave da 700 posti per quarantena in Sicilia 

The Italian Senate has voted to lift the parliamentary immunity of former Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini to allow his prosecution for blocking the disembarkation of survivors onboard Open Arms for 19 days last August. Salvini could be prosecuted for illegal detention. The opening court hearing in the Gregoretti case, the Coast Guard vessel that was prohibited from disembarking 116 rescued people for several days in July 2019, has been postponed to October 3rd

BBCItaly's Salvini to face new trial over migrant ship blockade 

InfoMigrantsItalie : Salvini va être jugé pour avoir bloqué des migrants pendant 19 jours en mer 

According to Agrigento Notizie, 390 people were transferred from Lampedusa to Sicily yesterday. 553 people reportedly remain at the hotspot in Lampedusa. 

Agrigento NotizieMigranti contagiati da Covid 19, le sette persone lasciano Lampedusa 

 

Libya 

 

The Tripoli-based Government of National Accord will reportedly impose a full lockdown in the area it controls. The lockdown reportedly starts today and should be in place for five days. The decision comes after a surge in COVID-19 infections in Libya with main outbreaks focused in Tripoli, Misrata and the southern desert town of Sebha. 

Middle East MonitorLibya to impose full lockdown as pandemic cases grow 

 

Press review 

 

+++ Le Monde: L’« Ocean Viking » bloqué : « La solidarité ne se divise pas : c’est ainsi que le nouveau monde survivra » [The "Ocean Viking" blocked: "Solidarity cannot be divided: this is how the new world will survive."] Op-Ed by Bertrand Badie for SOS MEDITERRANEE. 

RaiNewsLampedusa. Il pescatore che salva vite umane [Lampedusa, the fisherman who saves human lives] 

Corriere della SeraDi Maio: «Dobbiamo distruggere i barconi, è un’emergenza nazionale» [Di Maio: “We have to destroy the boats, it’s a national emergency”] 

30/7-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

  • On Monday, 3 Sudanese men were shot dead in Al Khums after being intercepted at sea and disembarked by the Libyan Coast Guard. The UNHCR called for an urgent investigation into the incident. 

CBC3 Sudanese shot dead in Libya after ship carrying migrants is turned back 

 

  • Sea Watch has announced that the first crew members have completed their quarantine and embarked on the Sea Watch 4. The new vessel is expected to set sail for her first mission soon. 

 

  • A new Italian rescue organisation, “ResQ - People Saving People”, announced that they will send a rescue ship to the Central Mediterranean soon. The vessel itself has not yet been unveiled. According to ResQ, they will operate a 40m ship with two RHIBs and a crew of approximately 20 rescuers and medics. Honorary president of ResQ is former Italian magistrate Gherardo Colombo. 

Reddattore SocialeNasce ResQ, nuova nave umanitaria italiana 

  • The Italian government is reportedly in the process of choosing two news ships to quarantine people off Lampedusa and Sicily. According to la Repubblica, the first one of them is to be operational as of Sunday. 

RepubblicaSbarchi a Lampedusa, il sindaco: "Il centro accoglienza è allo stremo" 

 

  • Numerous landings to Lampedusa have occurred over the past days. In the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, 13 boats carrying a total of 314 people reached the island. On Wednesday night, the hotspot in Lampedusa housed 1,101 people, ten times its capacity. Transfers to Sicily continue, but the local government in Sicily has also raised the alarm about a lack of resources on the island to manage the hygiene measures and accommodation of people arriving by sea.  

Corriere della sera: Migranti, 13 nuovi sbarchi nella notte a Lampedusa: arrivati 314 tunisini su barchini e un grosso peschereccio 

AnsaMigranti: Musumeci, Stato agisca o ne va ordine pubblico 

 

  • On Monday, dozens of rescued people escaped a quarantine tent in Porto Empedocle, Sicily. The tent, set up to house 100 people, reportedly held approximately 500. Nearly 200 people fled a holding facility in Caltanisseta, Sicily. Most of them were reportedly captured by the police. 

The LocalDozens of migrants flee second quarantine centre in Sicily 

  

  • The State of Emergency in Italy has been extended until October 15.  

RepubblicaStato di emergenza, proroga fino al 15 ottobre: che cosa cambia per governo e cittadini 

 

  • On Monday afternoon, the Maltese Armed Forces rescued approximately 95 people from a boat in distress that had been adrift for more than 30 hours after Alarm Phone first published the distress call. According to the Maltese authorities, 65 of the 95 survivors tested positive to COVID-19 upon disembarkation in Malta. 

The New York TimesMigrants Adrift Off Malta Called for Help. Then They Waited. And Waited. 

BBCCoronavirus: Malta says 65 rescued migrants test positive 

 

  • The Maltese government has expressed an interest in commissioning ships to quarantine survivors offshore again, as it did in the past with ferries chartered from the Captain Morgan company. 

Malta TodayMaltese government to quarantine irregular migrants at sea due to COVID-19 

 

  • Italian Minister of Interior Lamorgese met with Tunisian President Saied on Monday to urge the Tunisian government to take action to prevent crossings from Tunisia to Italy. Saied reportedly assured that controls at maritime borders would be intensified. More than 5,200 of the 11,191 migrants who have landed in Italy as of July 24 reportedly departed from Tunisia and nearly 4,000 are Tunisian citizens. 

InfoMigrantsItalian interior minister urges Tunisia to act on migration 

 

  • According to Alarm Phone, a shipwreck occurred off the Tunisian coast yesterday, 24 people are missing. It is reportedly the third shipwreck off Tunisia this week. 

 

  • According to the IOM, two people, a Ghanaian and a Nigerian, died in the Central Mediterranean on July 19. The other 88 people who attempted the crossing with them were intercepted and returned to Libya. 8 people lost their lives within two days in the Strait of Gibraltar, also according to the IOM
     
  • The UNHCR and the Mixed Migration Centre (MMC) at the Danish Refugee Council published a report on the violence and inhumanity people suffer “at the hands of smugglers, traffickers, militias and in some cases even State officials” on their journeys to and at the African Mediterranean coast. 

UNHCR‘On this journey, no one cares if you live or die’ [Full report] 

UNHCRThousands of refugees and migrants suffer extreme rights abuses on journeys to Africa’s Mediterranean coast, new UNHCR/MMC report shows [Press Release] 

 

  • The Association for Legal Studies on Immigration and the Cairo institute for Human rights studies have filed a complaint against Italy, Malta and Libya with the UN Human Rights Committee. The complaint was filed on behalf of two survivors who were on a boat in distress in the Maltese SRR that was reportedly being monitored by the Maltese MRCC but eventually intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard. 

Il ManifestoItalia, Malta e Libia denunciate al Comitato diritti umani dell’Onu 

 

Libya 

 

  • Germany is expected to dispatch frigate Hamburg to participate in EU Operation Irini off the Libyan Coast on Tuesday, August 4th

Tagesschau.deDeutsche Fregatte vor Libyen 

 

  • The International Rescue Committee has urged the Libyan authorities to release more than 200 children who were detained after being intercepted at sea and returned to Libya. 

APCharity urges release of 200 migrant children held in Libya 

 

Press Review 

 

RTBF: Louise Guillaumat (SOS Méditerranée) : "Il y a une vraie volonté de nous empêcher de débarquer en Europe" [There is a real desire to prevent us from disembarking in Europe, interview of Louise Guillaumat, SOS MEDITERRANEE Deputy Director of Operations] 

RTBFSauvetage en Méditerranée : reportage poignant à bord d'un bateau-ambulance [Rescue in the Mediterranean: Harrowing report on board an ambulance ship, by Hélène Renaux, journalist on board on the last rotation] 

De StandaardGrote bezorgdheid over twee vluchtelingenboten in nood [Great concern over two refugee boats in distress, with interview of Louise Guillaumat] 

ISPIFact Checking: migrazioni (e Covid-19) 

ViceEurope Is Keeping Refugees Trapped in Libya, Where They're Tortured and Exploited 

MSFMSF forced to close COVID-19 centre on Lesbos 

Al JazeeraMore than 100 civilians killed in Libya between April and June 

23/7-20

Migrant rescue ship Ocean Viking detained by Italy's coastguard

Issued on: 23/07/2020 - 14:19

Migrants on board the humanitarian aid boat Ocean Viking, chartered by charity group SOS Mediterranee, arrive on July 6, 2020 in the harbour of Porto Empedocle on the island of Sicily.
Migrants on board the humanitarian aid boat Ocean Viking, chartered by charity group SOS Mediterranee, arrive on July 6, 2020 in the harbour of Porto Empedocle on the island of Sicily. AFP - GIOVANNI ISOLINO
Text by: NEWS WIRES
2 min

The migrant rescue ship Ocean Viking was detained on Wednesday over technical irregularities, Italy's coastguard said, a move blasted as "harassment" by the charity that runs the vessel.

The ship had been allowed to disembark at a Sicilian port on July 7, with 180 rescued migrants onboard transferred to another boat for a two-week coronavirus quarantine.

Those two weeks ended on Tuesday -- but the next day the Ocean Viking was immobilised.

The Italian coastguard said in a statement that an inspection had revealed "several technical and operational irregularities" and the ship was under "administrative detention" until they were corrected.

The unspecified problems were "of a nature likely to compromise not only the safety of the ship and its crew, but also of the people who have been and could be recovered onboard", it added.

ANNONS

The coastguard also referred to "violations of regulations aimed at protecting marine environment".

SOS Mediterranee, which charters the Ocean Viking, released a furious statement condemning "a blatant administrative harassment manoeuvre aimed at impeding our lifesaving work".

"Over the past three months, the same argument over safety has been systematically used by Italian authorities to detain four NGO ships," Frederic Penard, director of operations at the organisation, said in the statement.

"Why wasn't safety more of a concern to maritime authorities when, earlier this month, the Ocean Viking had to wait 11 days for a port to be assigned?"

The migrants -- mainly from Bangladesh, Eritrea, North Africa and Pakistan -- were picked up in four separate rescues in the Mediterranean on June 25 and 30.

Their disembarkment initially came as a relief, after a tense few days on the ship marked by migrants jumping overboard, a suicide attempt and bouts of violence.

The Ocean Viking resumed rescue operations on June 22 after a three-month halt because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 100,000 migrants tried to cross the Mediterranean last year with more than 1,200 dying in the attempt, according to the International Organization for Migration.

The arrival of summer and more favourable conditions at sea may lead to an increase in attempts to cross the Mediterranean with the hope of arriving in Europe.

According to Italian news agency ANSA, customs officials rescued 90 migrants off the island of Lampedusa on Wednesday.

2/7-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

On a day that has seen rising tensions among the rescued people on deck, due in large part to the uncertainty and frustration caused by the stand-off, two survivors jumped off the Ocean Viking today. They were rescued by the SAR team. A third survivor attempted to jump but was held back by other survivors and the SOS MEDITERRANEE crew. The situation is generally under control for now, but 5 of the rescued people have expressed suicidal intent. Many of the rescued people show signs of agitation, depression and extreme mental fatigue. (Twitter)

Le Figaro (AFP)Deux migrants se jettent à l'eau de l'Ocean Viking, toujours bloqué en mer 

The survivor who was isolated on the Ocean Viking after being rescued a week ago and eventually evacuated on Monday was tested negative for COVID-19, as Mediterraneo Cronaca reports. The survivor of Bangladeshi nationality stayed in a tent on Favarolo Pier, Lampedusa, for the first 24 hours. 

Mediterraneo CronacaIsolato per un giorno in banchina, negativo al Covid migrante evacuato da Ocean Viking 

8 of the 43 people rescued by the Mare Jonio and disembarked in Augusta on Wednesday reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. 

Yahoo NewsMigrants test positive for coronavirus after arriving in Italy 

Le FigaroItalie: des migrants testés positifs au coronavirus après leur sauvetage 

Almost 200 people were intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard and returned to Libya today. According to the UNHCR, 172 people who departed two days ago on two boats from Zuwarah and Garabulli were disembarked in Tripoli. According to the IOM, another 23 were intercepted and returned to Zawyah. All of them were taken to detention. 

According to Mediterraneo Cronaca, 83 people were intercepted by the Italian Coast Guard in several operations off Lampedusa yesterday. Another boat reportedly reached the island autonomously last night. Landings continued today, with 37 people of Tunisian nationality arriving on four boats, three of which were intercepted by the Italian Coast Guard while one arrived autonomously. 

Mediterraneo CronacaMigrazioni, a Lampedusa altre 87 persone prima di mezzanotte 

Mediterraneo CronacaMigrazioni, 4 sbarchi a Lampedusa prima di mezzogiorno 

Two of 17 people who reached the Balearic island of Formentera by boat on Monday have tested positive for COVID-19. The two persons of Algerian nationality will remain in quarantine for 14 days in Ibiza, while all those who tested negative will be quarantined for a week, according to El País.  

El PaísDos de los 17 inmigrantes que llegaron en patera a Formentera dan positivo en coronavirus 

 

Libya 

 

The Foreign Ministers of the EU States will meet on July 13 “solely on the Turkish question”, according to French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. Le Drian said new sanctions on Ankara could be considered. The EU already imposed sanctions on Turkey for drilling in the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus. 

The NationalFrance threatens Turkey with sanctions over Libya intervention 

26/6-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

The Alan Kurdi was released from detention in Palermo and is now underway to Spain, where Sea Eye will conduct scheduled maintenance on their vessel. The Alan Kurdi was reportedly released under the condition that the (German) flag state authorities and the Spanish authorities agree to welcome the Alan Kurdi into one of their ports. Sea Eye also reports to be in contact with the German authorities to avoid such detention in the future. The cost for the detention will be covered by “United 4 Rescue”, an alliance led by the German Federation of Protestant Churches. 

Sea EyeSea Eye successfully frees rescue ship Alan Kurdi 

Maydayterraneo also reported their ship Aita Mari was allowed to leave Palermo to go to Spain today. The vessel is headed to Pasaia, Spain. 

Approximately 270 people, including 13 women and 23 children, were intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard and disembarked in Tripoli around noon today, according to IOM Libya

According to euro news, a crew member of the Sea Watch 3 was tested for COVID-19 yesterday. 

Spanish rescue NGO Proactiva Open Arms has announced that the Open Arms will soon leave the shipyard in Burriana, Spain, to return to operations at sea. 

 

Libya 

 

The Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Italy, Germany and France have issued a joint statement on Libya, urging all conflict parties to cease fighting and calling on foreign actors to stop interference in the conflict and to respect the arms embargo imposed by the United Nations Security Council. 

Governo ItalianoLibia: Dichiarazione congiunta di Francia, Germania e Italia 

 

Press review 

 

Der Spiegel"Ocean Viking" rettet Dutzende Menschen aus Seenot [“Ocean Viking” rescues dozens of people from distress at sea] 

Nice MatinDeux sauvetages en cinq heures: près de 110 migrants à bord de l'Ocean Viking [Two rescues in five hours: Almost 110 migrants on board the Ocean Viking], based on AFP dispatch by Shahzad Abdul 

Courrier International“En Méditerranée, on peut mourir une fois. En Libye, on meurt tous les jours” ["In the Mediterranean, you can die once. In Libya, one dies every day.", AFP dispatch by Shahzad Abdul] 

Euronews: Migrant rescue operations continue in the Mediterranean despite COVID-19 pandemic | #TheCube [Frédéric Penard interviewed] 

FranceInfo: Migrants en Méditerranée : le port du masque oblige les sauveteurs à s'adapter [“Migrants in the Mediterranean: wearing masks forces rescuers to adapt” with AFP footage and an interview of Mary, SAR team member] 

ANSA/InfoMigrants: Italy: Migrant coronavirus cases pose no risk to public, officials say 

Le FigaroLibye: pourquoi l’activisme de la Turquie donne des sueurs froides à la France 

Inside OverGli affari che legano petrolio e migranti in Libia [Oil and Migrant Affairs in Libya] 

Gulf NewsA dramatic turn of events in Libya 

The GuardianEnd of Tripoli siege raises fears of full-scale proxy war in Libya 

AvvenireLampedusa, da candidata al Nobel a isola dimenticata [Lampedusa, from Nobel nominee to forgotten island]

25/6-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

Crews onboard the Ocean Viking performed a rescue at noon today.  

51 people, including 1 pregnant woman, were rescued from a wooden boat in distress in the overlapping Italian and Maltese Search and Rescue Regions south of Lampedusa. 

Journalist Angela Caponnetto reports eight autonomous arrivals to Lampedusa today. Exact numbers are as of yet missing. 

According to UNHCRLibya, some 90 people were intercepted at sea and returned to Tripoli last night. The IOM reported a disembarkation of 71 survivors from Libyan Coast Guard assets, also in Tripoli. It is unclear whether these were separate interceptions. 

The Mare Jonio has left the port of Pozzallo this morning after disembarking 67 survivors on Saturday and meeting with Leoluca Orlandi, the mayor of Palermo. 

 

Libya 

 

In response to Macron’s remarks on the role of Turkey in Libya, the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said France was trying to divide Libya to go back to old colonial times. He criticized the French support for General Haftar, which he said stood in contradiction to the country’s role on the Security Council. 

Al JazeeraTurkish FM slams France's Macron for remarks on Libya 

 

Press review 

 

+++ Ouest FranceUne cinquantaine de migrants secourus par l’Ocean Viking au large de Lampedusa (AFP dispatch by Shahzad Abdul) 

InfoMigrantsPremière opération en trois mois pour l'Ocean Viking : une cinquantaine de migrants secourus 

Europa pressEl 'Ocean Viking' rescata a 51 migrantes a la deriva en el Mediterráneo 

VitaNo, i migranti non importano il Covid [No, migrants do not import COVID] 

Tagesschau: Embargo-Bruch mit deutschen Marken [Embargo breach with German brands] 

MediumCOVID-19 Compounds Families’ Painful Search for Missing and Disappeared Migrants 

AvvenireProfughi. Juniò, solo in Libia, ritrova in Italia la mamma e la gemellina di 7 anni [Junio, alone in Libya, found his mother and his 7-year-old twin sister in Italy] 

InfoMigrantsThousands sue Germany for suspending time limit on Dublin deportations 

24/6-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

28 of the 211 people who were transshipped from the Sea Watch 3 to the Moby Zazà tested positive for COVID-19. Sea Watch has issued a Press Release today in reaction to the news, saying the crew rigorously followed health protocols and reiterating that the duty of governments to rescue people and bring them to safety prevails also during a pandemic. 

Mediterraneo cronacaSale a 28 il bilancio dei positivi Covid sulla Moby Zazà. Musumeci rivendica soluzione nave 

36 people were intercepted off Lampione, close to Lampedusa, today. They were disembarked in Lampedusa and transported to the island’s reception centre. Another boat carrying 10 people, departed from Tunisia, reached Lampedusa autonomously. According to Mediterraneo cronaca, more boats were sighted in the Central Mediterranean today. Sea Watch also reported that their airplane Moonbird spotted at least two more distress cases. 

Mediterraneo cronacaSbarco a Lampedusa di 36 persone tunisine, ma il mare è pieno di migranti

Mediterraneo cronaca: Secondo arrivo di migranti nel pomeriggio a Lampedusa

The Italian Five-Star Movement (M5S) and its ruling partner, the Democratic Party (PD), are discussing the timeline for changes to the so-called “security decrees” that were introduced by Salvini during his time as Minister of the Interior. While the PD pushes for a swift reform of the legislation, which might decrease the legal basis for criminalization of SAR NGOs, M5S wants to postpone the discussion to September. 

InfoMigrantsItaly, M5S asks to postpone changes to Salvini migrant decrees 

 

Libya 

 

There are now more than 600 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Libya, according to the Libyan National Centre for Disease Control

 

Press review 

 

Europe 1: Migrants : "L’Ocean-Viking" reprend la mer : "Il y avait urgence" [Interview with Fabienne Lassalle] 

AFP: Sauver des vies en FFP2, casse-tête de l'Ocean Viking [dispatch by Shahzad Abful, PDF attached] 

Afp.comEl ciclo infernal de los rescatistas de migrantes en el Ocean Viking [Yesterday’s AFP dispatch by Shahzad Abdul in Spanish] 

InfoMigrantsItaly: Quarantine rules for NGO-run migrant rescue ships spark controversy 

Euro newsMigrant rescue ships return to the Mediterranean after lockdown

Die Zeit: Wenn die Staaten versagen, müssen die Städte ran [When States fail, it’s up to cities]

23/6-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

According to IOM Libya, 447 people were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya in the week from 16 to 22 June. 

According to Mediterranea Head of Mission Luca Casarini, the Mare Jonio crew sighted a body of a boy adrift on June 19. The NGO only made the incident public yesterday, but reportedly informed the Italian and Maltese authorities at the time. It is unclear as of yet why the body was not recovered. 

Mediterraneo cronacaUn altro cadavere nel Mediterraneo, Mare Jonio lo lascia in mare 

 

Libya 

 

French President Emmanuel Macron has said that France “won’t tolerate” Turkey’s role in Libya. Ankara has recently intensified its intervention in Libya by providing air support, weapons and Syrian fighters in support of the Government of National Accord (GNA). Macron reportedly said that he considered Turkey was playing “a dangerous game in Libya”, contravening its commitments made at the Berlin conference.  

ReutersFrance 'will not tolerate' Turkey's role in Libya, Macron says 

 
The United Nations Human Rights Council yesterday agreed to dispatch a fact-finding mission to investigate violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by all conflict parties in Libya. 

Human Rights WatchLibya: UN Establishes Fact Finding Body 

 

Press review 

 

Euro news: Migrants : l'Ocean Viking reprend la mer [Including AFP footage, interview with Nick, SARCo]

Le PointA bord de l'Ocean Viking, l'éternel retour des traumatisés du sauvetage [AFP dispatch] 

Mediterraneo cronaca: Le Ong ed il nuovo corso della politica italiana sui soccorsi ai migranti [NGOs and the new course of Italian policy on aid to migrants] 

AvvenireScafisti e petrolio. La beffa dei trafficanti libici con busta paga del governo [Smugglers and oil. The mockery of Libyan smugglers with government paychecks] 

TagesspiegelIm Mittelmeer gehen "Menschenrechte über Bord" [“Human rights overboard” in the Mediterranean], based on the report by SOS MEDITERRANEE Germany and today’s Press Conference 

Frankfurter RundschauVergesst Libyen nicht [Don’t forget Libya, op-ed by MSF Libya HoM] 

RFIWill Egypt send troops into Libya?

22/6-20

  • The Ocean Viking has set sail from Marseille to the Central Mediterranean at 08.30am today.

 

 

 

  • After 3 rescues in 48 hours on June 17 and 18 and after the provision of a Place of Safety in Italy was reportedly declined by authorities, the Sea Watch 3 was given the instruction by Italian authorities to transfer the 211 survivors onto the Moby Zazà Italian “quarantine” ship off Porte Empedocle, Sicily. On Saturday, health authorities and law enforcement boarded the ship. One of the survivors showed potential COVID-19 symptoms and was referred by Sea Watch to the authorities. He was tested for COVID-19 and the result came back negative on Sunday. The transfer was then allowed to start on Sunday night. Before that, on Sunday afternoon, 113 people remaining on board the Moby Zazà were disembarked as their quarantine ended.

 

Sea Watch has mentioned unconfirmed notifications that their crew would be quarantined off Porto Empedocle (to be confirmed).

 

Press review

 

By Shahzad Abdul, AFP journalist onboard the Ocean Viking:

-Le Monde, Après trois mois d’arrêt, l’« Ocean-Viking » reprend les sauvetages de migrants en Méditerranée (AFP dispatch)

-DH Les Sports, SOS Méditerranée: de l'Aquarius à l'Ocean Viking, 4 ans de sauvetages et de polémiques (AFP dispatch)

-+++ La Marseillaise, Défis humanitaire et sanitaire pour l’« Ocean Viking » (AFP dispatch)

Reuters, SOS Méditerranée reprend ses opérations de sauvetage de migrants

RTS, SOS Méditerranée repart secourir les migrants en mer sans l'aide de MSF (interview of Caroline, SOS MEDITERRANEE Switzerland’s General Director)

Vita, La Ocean Viking torna in mare per salvare vite umane

TV5 Monde Info, Interview of Hannah, midwife onboard, with freelance journalist onboard: https://twitter.com/TV5MONDEINFO/status/1274391666959450113?s=19

Infomigrants, L'Italie accepte les naufragés du Mare Jonio mais place en quarantaine ceux du Sea Watch

France 3, Coronavirus : l'Ocean Viking repart en mission de sauvetage en Méditerranée

Euronews, Abused in Libya and forced into prostitution back home: the nightmare of trying to reach Europe

Al Jazeera, Operation Irini: Turkey slams EU mission to contain arms to Libya

Reuters, Egypt has a legitimate right to intervene in Libya, Sisi says

19/6-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

211 people were rescued by the Sea Watch 3 in less than 48 hours. A third rescue took place last night. Sea Watch has reportedly asked for a Place of Safety for the disembarkation of the survivors. 

ReutersSea-Watch charity rescues hundreds of migrants from Mediterranean 

A survivor was evacuated from the Moby Zazà last night for medical reason. The person was evacuated by a Guardi di Finanza speedboat. According to Mediterraneo cronaca, it is not the first medical evacuation from the ferry. 

Mediterraneo cronacaMoby Zazà, evacuato un altro migrante 

A boat carrying 36 Tunisian citizens was intercepted by the Guardia di Finanza south of Lampedusa last night. The people were transferred to the reception center in Lampedusa, where only 8 people remained after approximately 120 were brought to Porto Empedocle, Sicily, by ferry earlier yesterday. 

Mediterraneo cronacaNuovo sbarco di migranti a Lampedusa su intervento Guardia di Finanza 

Agrigento notizieAncora sbarchi a Lampedusa, i migranti sono stati tutti trasferiti 
 

The Spanish Guardia Civil rescued a total of 38 people from four boats off the coast of Almería yesterday, EFE reports. 

The Spanish Coast Guard rescued 32 people off the coast of Fuerteventura yesterday. They had departed from El Aaiún, Western Sahara. Hygiene measures were reportedly increased after 14 of 39 people who arrived by boat on Sunday tested positive for COVID-19, according to EFE

The Spanish Coast Guard rescued 14 people from North Africa off the coast of Murcia, Spain, yesterday. They were reportedly disembarked last night in Cartagena, Spain. 

The Moroccan Navy intercepted a boat trying to depart Dakhla, Western Sahara, on Wednesday. The boat was headed to the Canary Islands carrying at least 25 people of sub-Saharan origin and intercepted shortly after departure, according to El Día. The Moroccan Navy further reports to have intercepted several boats carrying a total of almost 100 people on Wednesday night. They were disembarked in Nador, close to Spanish enclave Melilla. 

The IOM and the UNHCR have announced that as travel restrictions are progressively being lifted, more refugees will be resettled to resettlement countries while the organizations continue to work for a return to normal operations. The resettlement of approximately 10 000 refugees has been delayed due to the disruptions of air travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

IOM/UNHCRJoint Statement: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and IOM Director General António Vitorino announce resumption of resettlement travel for refugees 

 

Libya 

 

According to Al Jazeera, a UN investigation into human rights abuses by forces loyal to General Haftar could be launched. The head of the UN Support Mission in Libya and the Libyan Government of National Accord reportedly are in favour of drafting a resolution to investigate. 

Al JazeeraLibya human rights abuses: UN considering a draft resolution 

 

Press Review 

 

Le FigaroDes ONG humanitaires critiquent la surveillance aérienne des migrants par l'UE 

Mediterraneo cronacaDiritti in rotta, le “navi quarantena” tra rischi e criticità [Rights en route, the "quarantine ships" between risks and criticism] 

The Portugal NewsIllegal migrants crossing to the Algarve increasing 

The Guardian‘Boats arrive, people disappear’: one Greek's search for missing refugees 

Council of Europe: Pushbacks and border violence against refugees must end 

Al JazeeraThe unfolding geopolitical power play in war-torn Libya 

18/6-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

328 people were intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard and returned to Tripoli last night, the IOM reports. A total of six boats carrying 458 people were intercepted and returned within 24 hours yesterday. 

The crew onboard Sea Watch 3 conducted a second rescue last night. A total of 165 survivors are now onboard. This morning, the search for another boat in distress was still ongoing. Two more boats in distress were spotted in the Maltese Search and Rescue Region by Sea Watch’s airplane Moonbird last night that had reportedly not been rescued by this morning. One of them is presumed by Sea Watch to have reached Lampedusa autonomously.

Mediterranea cronaca reports an autonomous landing of 13 people to Lampedusa last night and of 49 people this morning. Of the 49, the majority is of Bangladeshi and some are of Tunisian nationality. A total of approximately 120 survivors reached Lampedusa between yesterday and this morning, according to journalist Angela Caponnetto

NGOs Sea Watch, Mediterranea, Borderline Europe and Alarm Phone have published a report describing how the EU and its Member States have reduced Search and Rescue activities and instead propped up the Libyan Coast Guards and eventually formalized a new SAR region under Libyan coordination. 

ReportRemote control: the EU-Libya collaboration in mass interceptions of migrants in the Central Mediterranean 

 

Libya 

 

French frigate Le Courbet reportedly became the target of what Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces of France, described as an “extremely aggressive” maneuver by Turkish warships. The Turkish frigate reportedly flashed its radar lights three times at the Courbet, which is commonly understood as taking aim. The Courbet was seeking to investigate Turkish cargo vessel Cirkin, which was suspected of smuggling arms to Libya after turning off its transponder, failing to identify itself and not enclosing its final destination. Ankara has denied the allegations of hostile acts at sea. NATO defence ministers will hold a video conference later this week. 

ReutersFrance accuses Turkey of hostile acts to stop enforcement of Libya arms embargo 

Le FigaroLe Courbet, navire français au large de la Libye, visé par une manœuvre turque «extrêmement agressive» 

 Libya has been elected to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for the term from 2021 to 2023.  

Anadolu AgencyLibya secures seat in UN ECOSOC 

 

Press Review

 

Shahzad Abdul, AFP journalist joining the Ocean Viking for the upcoming rotation, has published his first three articles today: 

  • AFP: Méditerranée: "Il y a des migrants dont on n'entend plus jamais parler" (HCR) [Mediterranean: There are migrants we never hear from again], PDF attached 
  • AFP: SOS Méditerranée: de l'Aquarius à l'Ocean Viking, 4 ans de sauvetages et de polémiques [SOS Méditerranée: From the Aquarius to the Ocean Viking, 4 years of rescues and polemics], PDF attached 
  • AFP: Migrants: face à l'"urgence", l'Ocean Viking s'apprête à retourner en Méditerranée [Ocean Viking getting ready to return to the Mediterranean in light of the “urgency”], PDF attached 

 

La ProvenceMigrants : face à l'"urgence", l'Ocean Viking s'apprête à retourner en Méditerranée, based on the AFP dispatch 

InfoMigrantsMer Méditerranée : l'Ocean Viking s'apprête à reprendre la mer [The Ocean Viking gets ready to return to sea] 

MSFLibya: crisis within a crisis [video] 

Al JazeeraTurkey's foreign minister visits Libya for talks with GNA 

Euro NewsUN: 1% of all humanity on the move as refugee numbers rise 

OpenImmigrazione, respingimenti e morti in mare. Ma l’Italia (e l’Ue) continuano a pagare la Libia [Immigration, rejections and deaths at sea. But Italy (and the EU) continue to pay Libya] 

Open MigrationRespingimenti per via aerea, la nuova strategia europea [Refoulement from the air, the new European strategy] 

InfoMigrantsSea-Watch rescues 165 migrants from central Mediterranean 

Diario de CadizCuatro años de prisión por trasladar en patera a 23 inmigrantes de Marruecos a España [Four years' imprisonment for transferring 23 immigrants from Morocco to Spain on a patera] 

17/6-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

Sea Watch has conducted a rescue of approximately 100 people 29 NM off the Libyan coast earlier today. Moonbird has reportedly spotted another distress case of a boat carrying an estimated 70 people, according to Sea Watch

6 boats with a total of approximately 59 people of Tunisian nationality reportedly reached Lampedusa today. Three autonomous landings of 4, 14 and 13 people respectively occurred during the first half of the day. All three of the boats are believed to have departed from the Tunisian town of Mahdia. Three more boats of approximately 11, 9 and 6 people were intercepted in territorial waters off Lampedusa by the Guardia di Finanza. 

Mediterraneo cronacaSequenza di sbarchi tunisini autonomi a Lampedusa 

The crew of the Mare Jonio witnessed an interception by the Libyan Coast Guard in the Libyan SRR today, NGO Mediterranea said in a Press Release

The IOM reports that 130 people were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya this morning. 

Following the shipwreck off Zawiyah over the weekend, the body of a female baby was found on the shore in Surman, Libya yesterday. 

Mediterraneo cronaca: Libia, il mare restituisce il corpo di una bambina dopo il naufragio  

27 people reached the Greek island of Lesvos autonomously this morning, according to press agency ANA-MPA

An autonomous arrival to the Balearic island of Mallorca was reported this morning. The Guardia Civil intercepted five people on land, a search is ongoing to locate more people who arrived on the same boat. 

Cadena SERLocalizada una patera con cinco personas cerca de Ses Salines 

A 22-year old Algerian man was sentenced to 6 years in jail in Spain for driving a boat with 15 people on board that were rescued off the coast of Almería, Spain, after days at sea without water, food or safety equipment. 

europa pressCondenado a seis años de cárcel por patronear una patera con menores a bordo que estuvo tres días en altamar 

 

Libya 

 

The number of cases of COVID-19 in Libya has risen to 484. Libya’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has recommended a 24-hour curfew on Friday and Saturday and making the wearing of masks compulsory. 

Libya HeraldLibya’s Coronavirus cases continue to rise daily 

EU High Representative Josep Borrell has urged EU member states to step up their support for operation Irini in a video conference held yesterday. The operation so far has two boats and three airplanes at its disposal. According to Borrell, more naval and aerial assets are needed. 

Al JazeeraEU chief urges bloc to increase support for Libya mission 

 

Press review 

 

Der Spiegel: Greece Suspected of Abandoning Refugees at Sea 

Das Erste: Wie die griechische Küstenwache Menschen in Seenot bringt [How the Greek Coast Guard puts people in distress at sea] 

VitaOxfam: «Dall'Italia più soldi alla Libia, mentre in mare si continua a morire» [More money from Italy to Libya, while at sea they continue to die] 

16/6-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

According to IOM Libya, 205 people were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya in the week from June 8th to 15th. 12 people lost their lives off the Libyan shore while trying to flee. 

According to the UNHCR, 3852 people were intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard from January 1st to May 31st. 

 

Libya 

 

The UNHCR and the World Food Programme have set up a joint food aid programme in Libya with the aim of reaching up to 10000 refugees and asylum seekers in response to the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of the ongoing conflict. According to the UN organisations, food prices and the cost of basic goods have increased by 24 percent since March. The distribution of food began yesterday and is planned to continue until the end of the year. 

UNHCRUNHCR, WFP join forces to reach thousands of refugees and asylum seekers in Libya with emergency food aid 

Le Figaro: Libye: mise en place d'un plan d'aide alimentaire pour des milliers de réfugiés 

Turkey and Russia will continue talks to reach a ceasefire in Libya despite the postponement of scheduled talks on Sunday, Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said. 

Al JazeeraTurkey, Russia continue to work together for Libya ceasefire 

 

Press Review 

 

NewsbookSurviving migrant speaks of death on the high seas 

Das ErsteWir schicken ein Schiff [We are sending a ship, documentary about the Sea Watch 4] 

InfoMigrantsMines, traps threaten the lives of migrants around Tripoli 

Human Rights WatchLibya: Apparent War Crimes in Tripoli 

MSFEscaping first Libya, and then coronavirus in Germany 

France24: 'Europe cannot allow itself to fail twice' on migration, EU Commission VP Schinas says 

BBCCoronavirus: What's life like for child refugees living in camps? 

BBCThe seafarers stranded on the high seas [Documentary Podcast] 

Il Librario“Salvarsi insieme”: Alessandra Sciurba racconta la realtà dei soccorsi nel Mediterraneo ["Saving ourselves together": Alessandra Sciurba tells the reality of rescue in the Mediterranean]

InfoMigrants: Members of group sexually 'exploiting Nigerian women' arrested 

15/6-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

The EU Commission, the External Action Service, UNHCR, IOM and Sea Eye will update Members of the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament on the situation in the Central Mediterranean today. The session should also give details on the mandate and activities of operation IRINI. A livestream of the discussion, which will be held from 16.45 to 18.45, is available here

12 people went missing and are feared drowned off Zawiyah, Libya, on Saturday. Among those missing are 2 children. Approximately 20 people from Chad, Nigeria, Egypt and Sudan were rescued by fishermen and returned to Libya. The boat the group had reported on from Zawiyah reportedly capsized shortly after setting off. According to IOM Libya, the search for bodies continues. 

APUN says dozen migrants feared drowned in capsizing off Libya 

InfoMigrants12 missing, feared drowned, after boat capsizes off Libya 

39 people were rescued by a private vessel after a Spanish Coast Guard aircraft spotted the boat in distress off Fuerteventura yesterday. Among the survivors are three children. 

EFERescatan al sur de Fuerteventura a 39 ocupantes de una patera, la cuarta detectada cerca de Canarias en junio 

The death toll of the shipwreck off Sfax approximately 10 days ago has risen to 61, after the Tunisian Coast Guard recovered more bodies, including that of a baby, over the weekend. 

ReutersDeath toll in migrant ship disaster off Tunisia rises to 61 

The Hellenic Coast Guard rescued 36 people off Lesvos on Saturday night. Alarm Phone had relayed and published the distress alert earlier that day. During the 15 hours between the initial reporting on the case and the rescue, the NGO published updates on the situation on board. According to Alarm Phone, the condition of a pregnant woman deteriorated during the day and she reportedly went into labour before the rescue started. Alarm Phone since reported that the woman and her baby have survived. One person had to be hospitalized, the Hellenic Coast Guard told AFP. 

ANA-MPA NewsThirty-six migrants rescued near Lesvos on Sunday 

InfoMigrants36 migrants rescued off Lesbos on Sunday 

Germany has reportedly joined the list of countries offering to take in people that were formerly held on the Captain Morgan tourist ships outside Maltese territorial waters. France, Luxemburg, Portugal and Germany have so far pledged to take in survivors. The European Commission is reportedly coordinating the relocation and trying to enlist more countries to step up. 

The Malta IndependentAnother EU member state offers to take migrants from Malta 

On 17 June 2018, the Aquarius disembarked 629 survivors in Valencia, Spain. Two years later, most of the rescued people are still undocumented. They have formed an association and complained that their requests for international protection have not yet been treated. Additionally, those who were working have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have announced a gathering and a press conference for the day after tomorrow, the 2-year anniversary of their disembarkation. 

Cadena SerLos migrantes del 'Aquarius' siguen sin papeles dos años después 

 

Libya 

 

On Sunday, Pope Francis called on international organisations, political and military leaders to stop the violence in Libya and to protect “the thousands of migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons in Libya”. 

Times of MaltaPope calls for world to push for end to Libya violence 

La StampaAppello del Papa per la Libia: “Cessare le violenze. Proteggere i migranti vittime di crudeltà” 

 

Press review 

InfoMigrantsCOVID-19 has aggravated situation for migrants in Libya says MSF 

Arab NewsFrance says Turkey conduct in Libya 'unacceptable' 

Mediterraneo cronacaMoby Zazà, bilancio del primo mese di noleggio della nave-quarantena [Moby Zazà, review of the first month of charter of the quarantine ship]  

TazAus der Seenot zurück nach Libyen [From distress at sea back to Liyba] 

Amnesty InternationalMenschenrechte bleiben auf der Strecke [Human rights are left behind, comment on the EU pact for asylum and migration]

12/6-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

The death toll of the shipwreck off the Tunisian coast has risen to 55, AFP reports. According to Tunisian authorities, 28 women, 25 men and 2 children are among the deceased. The boat has reportedly departed in the night between June 4th and 5th. The first bodies were found on Tuesday. 

L’Orient-Le JourNaufrage de migrants au large de la Tunisie : 55 morts, selon un nouveau bilan 

In the aftermath of the shipwreck off the Tunisian coast, the IOM has called on EU member states to increase Search and Rescue capacity. IOM Libya Chief of Mission Federico Soda has reiterated that Libya is not a Place of Safety and appealed to the coastal EU States closest to Libya to abandon their policy of closed ports. 

Vatican NewsL’OIM si appella agli Stati del Mediterraneo: salvare i migranti 

The UNHCR has called on Greece to investigate reports of pushbacks at sea. Since March, reports of incidents in which the Hellenic Coast Guard summarily returned people at sea and on land from Greek to Turkish territory or territorial waters have multiplied. 

UNHCRUNHCR calls on Greece to investigate pushbacks at sea and land borders with Turkey 

L’Orient-Le JourLa Grèce appelée à enquêter sur les refoulements vers la Turquie 

The European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs will meet on Monday to assess the situation of migrants and refugees in the Central Mediterranean. Frontex, the IOM, the UNHCR and Sea Eye will be present. 

 

Libya 

 

According to the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), at least eight mass graves have been discovered in an area retaken by the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA). Most of the graves were found in Tarhuna, the last stronghold of Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA). The GNA Ministry of Justice will establish a committee to investigate the graves. In March, UNSMIL had received reports of hundreds of forced disappearances, torture, killings and displacement of entire families in Tarhuna by forces loyal to Haftar. The UN mission also verified numerous summary executions at the prison of Tarhuna last fall. The UN and the US have expressed their “horror” at the discovery of the mass graves. 

Al JazeeraUN expresses 'horror' at reported mass graves in Libya 

CNNUN says at least eight mass graves have been reported found in Libya 

In the World Health Organization’s report on its health response to COVID-19 in Libya for the period from 28 May to 10 June, the organization counts a total of 359 confirmed cases of COVID-19 for the whole of Libya, of which 5 patients have died and 58 are recovered. A total of 14 627 samples have been tested throughout the country. According to the head of the Libyan National Center for Disease Control, one of the biggest obstacles to an adequate COVID-19 response is the fragmented governance and lack of cooperation between rivalling governance bodies. 

WHO LibyaHealth response to COVID-19 in Libya, update # 8 (Reporting period: 28 May-10 June 2020) 

 
Press review 

 

Le MondeLes opérations de sauvetage reprennent après un « printemps noir » en Méditerranée [Rescue operations restart after a “black spring” in the Mediterranean] +++ Including an interview with Sophie Beau  

EFEHallados los cadáveres de los 54 migrantes que naufragaron frente a Túnez [Bodies of 54 migrants found after shipwreck off Tunisia] 

The EconomistLibya’s government regains control of western Libya 

NetzpolitikUnter dem Radar gegen das Völkerrecht [Against international law under the radar] 

Heinrich Böll StiftungClosed Ports, Dubious Partners  

ISPILe migrazioni che verranno [The migration to come] 

11/6-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean

 

Approximately 50 people of Tunisian nationality have reached Lampedusa autonomously today. It is the first arrival after the tragedy off the coast of Sfax. 

Mediterraneo cronacaPrimo sbarco tunisino a Lampedusa dopo la tragedia di Sfax

German Minister of Interior Horst Seehofer has announced that Germany will resume the reception of people who are relocated from Greece, Malta and Italy. Germany has pledged to take in 80 people from Italy and Malta respectively, and 249 children from refugee camps on the Greek islands along with their families. Seehofer mentioned a lack of solidarity in relocating those rescued from distress at sea: While about a dozen EU countries pledged to take in people from the Greek islands, “at most half a dozen” countries stepped up to take in survivors. 

Evangelisch.de: Asyl: Seehofer kündigt Wiederbeginn humanitärer Aufnahmen an [Seehofer announces resumption of humanitarian relocations] 

InfoMigrantsGermany to accept asylum seekers from Malta and Italy 

Tagesschau: Deutschland nimmt rund 400 Menschen auf 

After the shipwreck off Tunisia earlier this week, 52 bodies have been found (initial reports this morning spoke of 34 bodies, more were recovered throughout the day). 

ReutersDeath toll in migrant ship disaster off Tunisia rises to 46 

TagesschauFlüchtlinge bei Bootsunglück ertrunken 

Repubblica: Migranti, in Tunisia la strage delle donne. Dei 34 corpi recuperati dopo il naufragio di lunedi 22 sono di subsahariane 

The GuardianAt least 35 people dead as migrant boat sinks off Tunisia 

L’Express52 morts dans le naufrage d'un bateau de migrants au large de la Tunisie

According to the IOM, 9569 people have fled Libya this year so far, almost double compared to the same period in 2019 (4158).  
IOMIOM Libya Monthly Update 

According to Avvenire journalist Nello Scavo, the prosecutor’s office in Ragusa has officially acquired the joint investigation of Avvenire and The Guardian into an incident during the Easter weekend in which Maltese authorities allegedly equipped a boat in distress with fuel and a new engine before directing it out of the Maltese Search and Rescue Region and on to Pozzallo. The prosecution reportedly seeks to bring charges of “aiding and abetting illegal immigration”. 

AvvenireMigranti e petrolio, ricatto a Roma. E Ragusa indaga sui dirottamenti di Malta 

  

Libya

 

United States President Donald Trump has voiced an interest in a swift ceasefire agreement in phone calls to Egyptian President al-Sisi. This week, a standoff occurred between Greek and Turkish navy vessels after a Greek helicopter, linked by Greek frigate Spetsai operating under EU Operation Irini, approached a Turkish cargo ship. When a Turkish navy vessel came to its defence, the Italian Irini commander eventually ordered the Greek frigate to back off. 

The GuardianDonald Trump joins calls for Libya ceasefire 

 

Press review

 

The New HumanitarianLibyan doctors battle on two dangerous fronts: COVID-19 and war 

El DiarioLos barcos de rescate humanitario regresan al Mediterráneo central [Humanitarian rescue ships return to Central Mediterranean] 

MaltaTodayAfter Malta’s migration hardball failed to move EU, diplomat takes the fall 

MaltaTodayBartolo speaks to Russia’s Sergey Lavrov on Libyan conflict and migration 

MaltaToday[ANALYSIS] Populist showboating and bad faith: Malta’s Captain Morgan fiasco 

France InfoCoronavirus : deux nouveaux cas de Covid-19 à bord du porte-avions "Charles-de-Gaulle" [Two new Covid-19 cases on airplane carrier “Charles-de-Gaulle"] 

The New HumanitarianTunisia: North Africa’s overlooked migration hub 

InfoMigrantsTunisie : des dizaines de migrants détenus dans un centre illégal 

Human Rights Watch: ‘Under water or under a knee, we can’t breathe’

10/6-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

Yesterday, Mediterranea’s rescue ship Mare Jonio left the port of Trapani for a mission in the Central Mediterranean. 

RepubblicaTute, mascherine e cabina di isolamento: la Mare Jonio torna in missione 

185 people were returned to Libya by the Libyan Coast Guard last night, as the IOM reports. According to Repubblica, many children were among those returned. Meanwhile the UNHCR reports a different figure, stating that approximately 250 people disembarked in Tripoli last night after being intercepted at sea.

According to journalist Angela Caponnetto, 21 of the 24 bodies that have so far been found after the shipwreck off the Tunisian coast earlier this week were female. One of them was reportedly pregnant. Most of them are reportedly of Ivorian nationality. Two small children under the age of 3 are also among the deceased. 

The Astral, the sailing vessel operated by Proactiva-Open Arms, is sailing from the Canary Islands to Barcelona to prepare for a return to the Central Mediterranean. 

Greek Shipping Minister Ioannis Plakiotakis has denied allegations against the Greek Coast Guard of performing push-backs to Turkish territorial waters. In a press conference today, Plakiotakis stated that instead, the Turkish Coast Guard systematically escorts boats to Greek waters. 

EkathimeriniMinister rejects Aegean pushback allegations 

 

Libya 

 
The EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell called for a swift agreement on a ceasefire in Libya and a withdrawal of all foreign forces, mercenaries and military equipment, in a joint statement with the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Italy. German chancellor Merkel discussed the situation in Libya with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday and Russian president Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. 

Al JazeeraEU calls on conflict parties in Libya to withdraw foreign forces 

 

Press review 

 

EU ObserverVoice from Libya: No one is winning 

CNBCLibya’s National Oil Corporation declares force majeure on its largest oil field after shutdown by militia 

MigreuropPolitiques du non-accueil en Tunisie : des acteurs humanitaires au service des politiques sécuritaires européennes [Policies of non-accommodation in Tunisia: humanitarian actors at the service of European security policies] 

The Morning Star‘Europe will continue with its border control policies, and we will continue fighting for human rights’ [Interview with Inigo Mijangos of Salvamento Marítimo Humanitario]

9/6-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean

 

At least 20 people died off the Tunisian coast, a Tunisian official said on Tuesday. A total of 53 people had departed from Tunisia on the weekend in an attempt to reach Italy. The bodies were found off the coast of Sfax on Tuesday, Tunisian Coast Guard and army units are searching for more missing people. 

Reuters: At least 20 die as migrant boat sinks off Tunisia

Sea Watch has announced the first mission of its airplane Moonbird above the Central Mediterranean since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic today.  

In the 10 days from 29 May to 7 June, at least 337 people reached Italy or Malta from Libya according to IOM Libya's most recent Maritime Update. 194 people were reportedly intercepted and returned to Libya in a single day on June 3rd. 

German media reports that a change in regulations imposed by the German Ministry of Transport will make it harder for organisations to use ships that are registered as sports or recreational craft for sea rescue. This will affect, for example, Mare Liberum, Mission Lifeline's "Rise Above" and ResQship's Josefa, who will now have to meet much higher safety requirements. 

NDRSchärfere Regeln erschweren Seenotrettung von Flüchtlingen 

Der SpiegelSeenotretter werfen Scheuer Verhinderung von Einsätzen vor 

The European Commission has reportedly turned down a request by the Maltese authorities for financial support to cover the costs of holding survivors on tourist cruise ships in international waters. The Maltese authorities reportedly requested access to funds from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) but the EU found the request not eligible for support since only measures that meet all legal conditions can receive financial support: According to an EU spokesperson, this would include “providing access to the asylum procedure in line with EU law”. This was not given for those held on the tourist vessels who stayed in international waters. 

Times of MaltaEU will not pay for boats that held migrants offshore 
 

Press review

 

Al JazeeraErdogan says 'agreements' reached with Trump over Libya 

CNNRussia raises stakes with 'brazen' military intervention in Libyan conflict 

The Arab WeeklyTurkey crosses Russian red lines in Libya, LNA awaits Egypt’s ‘Plan B’ 

The New HumanitarianThis global pandemic could transform humanitarianism forever. Here’s how 

8/6-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

Malta allowed 425 people held on 4 tourist cruise ships (some for more than a month) to disembark on the weekend after a group of survivors reportedly started protesting and the situation became unsustainable for the crew and rescued people. While there was no plan for the relocation of the survivors at the time of the disembarkation, Ansa has since reported that France, Luxemburg and Portugal have offered to take in some of the 425 people, while the Times of Malta reports the 3 countries as France, Luxemburg and Finland. 

ReutersMalta forced to allow detained migrants to land after revolt 

Ouest FranceMalte autorise le débarquement de 400 migrants bloqués en mer 

EuractivNo EU country accepted any of the 400 migrants stranded off Malta 

Deutsche WelleMalta lets migrants ashore after weeks in limbo 

AnsaMigranti: Ue, bene sbarco a Malta,3 Paesi pronti a accogliere 

Times of Malta: Three EU countries have offered to help Malta with migrant relocation

 

The Sea Watch 3 set sail from Messina to the Central Mediterranean on Saturday. 

Le Parisien: Migrants : l’ONG Sea Watch reprend ses opérations de sauvetage

Zeit: "Sea Watch 3" nach drei Monaten wieder im Mittelmeer unterwegs

 

A site where abandoned boats used for crossings of the Mediterranean are collected near the port, sometimes referred to as “boat graveyard”, was set on fire in an alleged arson on Lampedusa on Friday night. The incident came less than a week after vandals wrapped the Porta d’Europa monument, an artwork commemorating those who lost their lives while trying to flee across the Mediterranean, in plastic bags. The mayor of Lampedusa warned of efforts to create an atmosphere of tension and intolerance on the island. 

The GuardianSicily launches inquiry into fire in 'migrant boats graveyard' 

La SiciliaLampedusa, incendiate le barche dei migranti, il sindaco Martello: «C'è chi alimenta la tensione» 

 

According to IOM Turkey, more than 10,000 people have tried fleeing Turkey by sea since the beginning of the year. In the first week of June, the Turkish Coast Guard rescued 354 people. 

According to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency, a boat carrying 40 people from Afghanistan and African countries reached the Greek island of Lesvos on Sunday. It was the second autonomous landing on the island this month. 

The Spanish Red Cross, along with the Spanish authorities, will set up a reception center for up to 900 people on Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, as EFE reports. The step is a response to the high number of autonomous arrivals to the Canary Islands during the COVID–19 pandemic. 

Three men were sentenced by the Provincial Court of Almería, Spain, for organizing a crossing from Algeria to Spain for approximately ten people. Each of the survivors reportedly paid between 1,200 and 1,500 Euros for the crossing. They spent about 30 hours at sea before being rescued by the Spanish Coast Guard on January 1st this year. 

Europa pressCondenan a tres hombres por organizar una patera con diez personas, que pagaron hasta 1.500 euros por la travesía 

 

Libya 

 

The self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) reportedly accepted a unilateral cease-fire sponsored by Egypt, as was announced at a ceremony in Cairo on Saturday. However, the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) rejected the truce and pushed to take the coastal Libyan city of Sirte today. According to Al Jazeera, at least 8 civilians were killed and six wounded during the shelling of a town west of Sirte today. 

BloombergStrongman Haftar Accepts Initiative to End Libya’s Civil War 

Al JazeeraLibya's GNA forces press ahead after failed truce offer by Egypt 

The GuardianLibyan government defies Russian warnings with plans to take eastern sites 

 

Press review 

 

France InterLes dangers de l’internationalisation de la guerre en Libye [The dangers of the internationalisation of the war in Libya] 

The TelegraphLibya may have escaped the pandemic but for its thousands of refugees the suffering continues [By MSF’s Libya Head of Mission] 

InfoMigrantsAmnesty warns of human rights situation in Italy, criminalization of rescue NGOs 

InfoMigrantsGrèce : nouvelle prolongation du confinement dans les camps de migrants [Greece: new extension of the confinement in migrant camps] 

UNHCRUNHCR Libya Update 5 June 2020 

The New York TimesUAE Says Egypt Initiative for Libya Boosts Peace Track 

Daily SabahEU: Unilateral Cairo Declaration on Libya 'unacceptable' 

5/6-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

One autonomous landing and one rescue operation in Lampedusa were reported yesterday by Angela CaponnettoSergio Scandura and Mediterraneo Cronaca. A total of approximately 110 people reached the island on the two boats. 

The Ministers of the Interior of states of the Visegrad Group (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary), as well as Estonia, Latvia and Slovenia, have sent a letter to the EU Commission to voice their opposition to a compulsory system for the relocation of migrants in the EU. The Italian Minister of the Interior, Luciana Lamorgese, introduced a proposal drafted by Italy, Cyprus, Greece, Malta and Spain for a new EU immigration and asylum policy to the Ministers of the Interior of the EU today. The reform of the Dublin process and a “New Pact on Immigration” are among the priorities of the German presidency in the Council of the European Union, which will start on July 1. 

AnsaItalia e altri Med per ricollocamenti obbligatori 

8 cases of COVID–19 were detected among the almost 2500 people who reached the Canary Islands by boat this year until May 31st

europa pressCanarias detecta 8 casos positivos por Covid-19 entre casi 2.500 migrantes llegados en cayucos y pateras 

The Greek frigate Spetsai, deployed in support of operation EUNAVFOR Med Irini, has arrived in the mission’s area of operations in the Central Mediterranean. 

B2La frégate Spetsai sur zone, annonce l’opération EUNAVFOR Med Irini 

Commodore Theodoros Mikropoulos of the Greek Navy is the new chief of staff for Operation Irini after taking over from Italian Army Brigadier General Sebastiano Longo, the Operation announced on Twitter today. 

According to Ekathimerini, a refugee camp in Northern Greece was put under quarantine yesterday after a pregnant woman tested positive for Covid-19. 

 

Libya 

Forces loyal to the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) announced today that they entered Tarhuna, the last major stronghold of General Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) in the West. The announcement comes a day after the GNA pushed the LNA from its last positions Tripoli. The city's loss is believed to be a major blow to Haftar’s forces, as the offensive to take Tripoli was mostly launched from Tarhuna. 

Al JazeeraLibyan government forces seize Haftar stronghold Tarhuna 

 

Press review 

Memorandum of Agreement Between the Government of National Accord of the State of Libya and The Government of Malta in the Field of Combatting Illegal Immigration (full text) 

Ouest FranceLibye, frontières… Ce qu’il faut retenir de la visite de Jean-Yves Le Drian à Rome et au Vatican [Libya, borders... What we should remember from Jean-Yves Le Drian's visit to Rome and the Vatican] 

TimeCoronavirus Strands Merchant Ship Crews at Sea For Months 

InfoMigrantsMalta sets up center in Libya to fight irregular migration 

4/6-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

IOM Libya reports that 194 people were intercepted and returned to Libya today. 

The Spanish Coast Guard has rescued 47 people in distress of the Canary Island of Lanzarote today. 

Alarm Phone was alerted to two boats in distress in the Aegean today, one carrying about 35 people and a second one carrying about 35-38 peopleFootage from the second boat in distress published by Alarm Phone shows masked men approaching the boat. 

Last week, the Maltese and Libyan authorities have reportedly signed a Memorandum of Understanding that entails establishing “migration coordination centres” in Tripoli and Valletta. The centres are to be financed by Malta and commence operations from July 2020. A Maltese official is to be posted in the Tripoli centre and a Libyan official in the Valletta centre. Their operations should encompass “support and coordination”. According to the MoU, Malta will also propose to the European Commission and EU Member States an increase in financial support to the Libyan Government of National Accord for border control and additional maritime assets. 

MaltaTodayMaltese official to be posted in Libya in fight against ‘illegal immigration’ 

SeaWatch has announced that the crew of the Sea Watch 3 is undergoing a 14-day quarantine in Messina in preparation the ship’s next mission. The ship is expected to depart from Messina as soon as the quarantine is successfully completed. 

Today, the Council of Europe Commissioner of Human Rights has issued a statement calling for “immediate action” to disembark the more than 400 survivors held on cruise ships outside Maltese territorial waters. 

Council of EuropeImmediate action needed to disembark migrants held on ships off Malta’s coast 

The Italian authorities reportedly refused access to documents that could have contributed to the investigation into the deaths of 12 people in distress over the Easter weekend. According to documentation obtained by Italian newspaper Avvenire, a Frontex aircraft had communicated the positions of the boat in distress to the maritime authorities in Rome and Valletta. The Italian government has reportedly accused Malta of not responding to requests for updates on the rescue of the distress cases from Rome. The documents that could prove this communication, however, were not disclosed by the Italian authorities. According to the Italian authorities, providing access to the information in question could have implications for international relations, presumably with Libya and Malta. 

AvvenireMalta si auto-assolve dalla strage. E l'Italia pone il segreto sui barconi [Malta is absolving itself from the massacre. And Italy puts the secret on the boats] 

 

Libya 

The Government of National Accord has announced that it has regained full control of Tripoli after seizing the airport of Tripoli. The city was besieged by Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army since April 2019. The clashes over the airport occurred while a video conference between members of the LNA and the UN envoy Stephanie Williams about a renewed ceasefire was ongoing. An LNA source reportedly told Reuters news agency that the LNA was withdrawing from all suburbs, but there has been no official communication by the Eastern forces. 

BBC: Libya conflict: GNA regains full control of Tripoli from Gen Haftar 

Al JazeeraLibya's GNA says it regained full control of the capital, Tripoli 

Zeit OnlineLibyens Regierung meldet Einnahme des Flughafens von Tripolis [Libyan government announces seizure of Tripoli airport] 

According to journalist Sara Creta, approximately 70 people tried to escape from a detention centre in Zawiya, Libya today. 2 men have reportedly been shot and transferred to a hospital. 

 

Press review 

 

EFEEl miedo al virus no viaja en patera [The fear of the virus doesn’t travel on dinghies] 

MSFConflict and COVID-19 adds up to a crisis within a crisis in Libya (photo story) 

Rai NewsVivere su un barcone turistico al largo di Malta: oltre 400 migranti confinati in mezzo al mare [Living on a tourist boat off Malta: over 400 migrants confined in the middle of the sea] 

RFIMéditerranée: plus de 400 migrants bloqués au large de Malte [More than 400 migrants blocked off Malta] 

3/6-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

14 people of Tunisian nationality have reached Lampedusa autonomously this morning.  

Mediterraneo cronacaContinuano gli sbarchi autonomi a Lampedusa, 14 tunisini a Cala Galera [The autonomous landings in Lampedusa continue, 14 Tunisians at Cala Galera] 

 

The European Commission has called on EU Member States to find an urgent solution for the disembarkation of the 425 survivors who are stuck on 4 cruise ships outside Maltese territorial waters. A spokesperson for the European Commission emphasized the need for cooperation, solidarity and collective responsibility in the matter. (AFP dispatch, PDF attached.) 

 

Libya 

 

The Deputy Prime Minister of the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), Ahmed Maetig, has arrived in Russia for talks about paths to a ceasefire in Libya. The visit comes two days after the GNA and the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) agreed to restart ceasefire talks. 

Al JazeeraSenior official of Libya's GNA arrives in Russia for talks 

 

Press review: 

[Press Release] SOS MEDITERRANEE: 400 people stranded off Malta, lack of EU response: Deterioration of Mediterranean crisis sparks fear of further tragedy 

Le Figaro (via AFP)L'association SOS Méditerranée dénonce une crise humanitaire «sans précédent» [SOS MEDITERRANEE denounces an “unprecedented” humanitarian crisis, article based on today’s press release] 

TIME: More Than 400 Migrants Living in Limbo Aboard Chartered Pleasure Cruise Ships off Maltese Coast 

TazKüstenwache unter Gegenbeobachtung [Coast Guard under surveillance] 

AvvenireLibia, i trafficanti approfittano del caos: la tratta dei poveri sui canotti 

VitaBilal, che dalla nave quarantena voleva raggiungere a nuoto l'Europa [Bilal, who wanted to swim to Europe from the quarantine ship] 

DeutschlandfunkWie Europa die Corona-Krise gegen Geflüchtete benutzt [How Europe is using the Corona crisis against those who flee, radio interview with Till, SOS MEDITERRANEE Germany board member] 

Times of MaltaYoung men sit and wait aboard Malta's offshore detention centres 

EU ObserverEU's new migration pact must protect people on the move 

Al JazeeraCan Russia and Turkey offer a solution to the Libyan crisis? 

2/6-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

77 people have reached Lampedusa autonomously this morning according to Angela Caponnetto (originally reported as 74) and Mediterraneo cronaca. They are believed to be survivors of a distress case that Alarm Phone reported last night, although there is no official confirmation. 

Yesterday and today, 4 autonomous landings of 9, 8, 6 and 5 people in Lampedusa were reported by Angela Caponnetto. According to Caponetto, 80 of those who reached Lampedusa yesterday and today were transferred to the Moby Zazà. 

A protest has been reported from Marsa, a reception centre for asylum seekers in Malta, where a large group of people demanded “freedom”. According to the Times of Malta, the gates of the centre were locked. 

Times of MaltaMigrants demand ‘freedom’ at Marsa centre protest 

Parts of the testimonies gathered for the inquiry into the death of at least five people on a rubber dinghy in the Maltese SAR during the Easter weekend were published by the Times of Malta. The testimonies detail some of the instructions the shipowners and Captains of the private fishing vessels received from the Armed Forces of Malta while forcibly returning the rescued people to Libya. The inquiry has acquitted the Prime Minister and the Armed Fores of wrongdoing in this case. 

Times of Malta‘Keep your lights off, so they don’t fire a rocket’: inside the Libya pushback 

 

Press review 

 

MaltaTodayIllegal floating prisons 

EU ObserverMalta fiddles on migrants, as Libya burns 

The National: We are witnessing a colossal failure to care for migrants in Libya

AL-MonitorUS commander suggests sending military trainers to Tunisia after Russia sends aircraft to Libya 

The Washington PostCivilian casualties surge in Libya during Tripoli battle, study finds

1/6-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  

  • The Maltese Prime Minister, as well as the brigadier and crew of an Armed Forces of Malta patrol boat, have been cleared of accusations of homicide made by the NGO Repubblika by a magisterial inquiry. The Magistrate called on “the police’s counter terrorism unit to investigate a suspected smuggler”, explains the Times of Malta. The investigation was triggered by the NGO Repubblika police complaints about the death of 5 persons left stranded onboard a boat in distress in Maltese waters and the alleged intentionally sabotage of another boat in distress during Easter week.  

Times of Malta:  Inquiry into migrant deaths clears Prime Minister of homicide claims 

Malta TodayMagistrate throws out Repubblika complaint of homicide in migrant rescue 

 

  • After its reported intervention (along with the UN) to stop a tanker on Saturday, the anti-aircraft frigate Jean Bart of the Operation IRINI already left the operation and has not yet been replaced, reports Mer et Marine. For now, the EUNAVFORMED operation only has aerial assets left. 
  • 95 Tunisians, including 9 minors, arrived almost autonomously in Lampedusa yesterday. They were rescued about 3 miles from the coast and seem to have been boarded on a line ferry that will arrive in Porto Empedocle in the evening. Once arrived in the port of the south coast of Sicily, they will be “transferred to the Centers for Repatriation (CPR) pending a return to Tunisia after having spent the period of preventive isolation for the health risk of Covid-19", according to Mediterraneo cronaca.  
  • On Saturday, Lampedusa’s hotspot was again “emptied" according to Ansa press agency. “98 people have left the island with Coast Guard patrol boats and Guardia di Finanza while 86 others have boarded a line ferry for Porto Empedocle”.  
  • In a briefing to the Security Council made in May 19th, the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) reports that since January, more than 3,200 refugees & asylum seekers have been intercepted at sea & returned to Libya, “frequently to abusive conditions in detention, whilst others have disappeared altogether."  

Libya  

  • Regarding the attack that killed 30 people and wounded 11 others in Libya on May 27th, UN Libya deplored to “see the basic human rights of the migrants in Mezda not respected, and that a lack of regard for their safety led to this senseless atrocity.” Libya’s foreign ministry condemned the killing of the 26 Bangladeshi nationals (the 4 other victims are Africans) and said it would bring the killers to book, according to the Daily Star and the Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha.  
  • Coronavirus cases continue to increase in Libya’s south. Libya’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported 38 new cases in the south of Libya and eleven recoveries over the weekend. The latest official figures bring Libya’s total cases to 156 and still 5 deaths.   
  • After a series of defeats, yesterday Haftar’s forces “retook a key town from militias allied with the U.N.-supported government”, according to Haftar’s officials as reported by Associated Press. The press agency adds that the “growing foreign intervention in the conflict appears to move the Libyan war into a new phase.”  
  • missile attack attributed to a militia loyal to General Haftar killed five people in Tripoli today, while 12 others were injured, reports Daily Sabah. Yesterday, five civilians were also killed in a reported rocket attack from Haftar’s forces on Tripoli's city center.  

 

Press review  

 

Mediterraneo cronaca - L’Italia si nasconde dietro Malta, ma accordi di abbandono in mare e politica dei porti chiusi nascono a Roma [Italy hides behind Malta, but agreements on abandonment at sea and closed port politics are born in Rome.] 

 

RFI - Libye: trafic actif de migrants du Bangladesh vers Tripoli [Libya: active smuggling of migrants from Bangladesh to Tripoli] 

 
La Repubblica - Migranti, nel centro di detenzione a Zintan: "Senza acqua, sapone e mascherine, siamo terrorizzati dal Covid" [Migrants, in the detention centre in Zintan: "Without water, soap and masks, we are terrified of Covid."] 

 
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights - Turkey sends new 400 mercenaries to Libya, and over 350 killed so far 


Refugee Support Aegean - A total of 229 asylum-seekers arrived on Lesvos since early May. 16 of those are held in quarantine in a bus 


EFE One hundred and five immigrants arrive on the islands in three small boats on Canary Islands Day 

29/5-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

Approximately 186 people reached Lampedusa autonomously on three boats yesterday, as Angela Caponnetto reports. Almost all the survivors were transferred to Porto Empedocle today to free the hotspot on the island. 

Mediterraneo cronacaTre sbarchi in un giorno, 187 migranti solo a Lampedusa 

Mediterraneo cronacaTrasferiti tutti i migranti approdati ieri a Lampedusa 

According to IOM Libya’s most recent Maritime Update, 697 people were intercepted and returned to Libya within the past 14 days. 130 people were reported missing in the Central Mediterranean in 2020 so far. 

Three men were sentenced to 20 years in prison in Italy for torturing arbitrarily detained people in Libyan detention centers. A 22-year-old Guinean citizen and two Egyptian citizens of 26 and 24 years of age were found guilty by a court in Messina, where they disembarked after being rescued by Mediterranea’s sailing boat Alex in September last year. In the hotspot in Messina, other survivors and victims of the three recognized the men. 

AvvenireCondannati a Messina tre torturatori arruolati in Libia dagli uomini di Bija [Three torturers, enlisted by Bija’s men, sentenced in Messina] 

Messina OraTorturavano migranti in Libia, condannati a 20 anni a Messina [They tortured migrants in Libya, sentenced to 20 years in Messina] 

The Guardian reports that police in Siciliy are investigating claims that the Maltese Armed Forces turned away a boat in distress that later reached Pozzallo, Italy, instead of performing a rescue. The prosecutor’s office may open an investigation and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the Maltese government for not abiding by international laws. The Guardian and Avvenire reported the allegations two weeks ago. 

The GuardianItaly considers charges over Malta's 'shocking' refusal to rescue migrants 

 

Press review 

IOMIOM Deplores Killing of 30 Trafficked Migrants in Libya 

Monitor (WDR)Sterben im Mittelmeer: Europas Rückzug bei der Seenotrettung [Deaths in the Mediterranean: Europe’s withdrawal from sea rescue] 

Al Jazeera'Largest drone war in the world': How airpower saved Tripoli

Radio Nova: Il n'y a plus de sauvetages en Méditerranée

28/5-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

  • Last night, approximately 75 people have been rescued by the Armed Forces of Malta, reports Time of Malta. A fourth tourist ship, the Jade, belonging to Supreme Cruises company, has been chartered by the authorities to hold them at sea. The Jade, who could accommodate up to 250 people according to the Maltese government, will stay close to the three Captain Morgan vessels. The 75 survivors were reportedly temporarily transferred to one of the Captain Morgan vessels until the arrival of the new boat.   
  • This morning, Alarm Phone was alerted to a boat in distress with approximately 48 people in the Maltese Search and Rescue Region.    
  • Today, 86 people arrived autonomously in Lampedusa. According to Mediterraneo cronaca, "they left from the Libyan port of Zuwara, four days ago, aboard a wooden boat. All were transferred to the first reception center after the sanitary triage on the dock. " 

Sergio Scandura: https://twitter.com/scandura/status/1266017987657596929 

Mediterraneo Cronaca: A Lampedusa una delle due barche in pericolo, 86 persone a bordo [In Lampedusa one of the two boats in danger, 86 people on board] 

 

  • The 98 people who were rescued by the Portuguese-flagged commercial ship MS Anne on Monday night, disembarked in Misrata yesterday evening and were taken to a detention center after spending two nights on board, stated IOM-Libya. While the Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva said on Tuesday that the ship had “strictly complied with regulations”, according to Espresso and Observador, regarding this case, the European Commission reminded that Libya is not a place of safety: “All vessels sailing with Member State flags are committed to international law with regard to rescues and must ensure that rescued people are taken to a place of safety. We do not believe that these conditions are currently guaranteed in Libya.” 

Infomigrants: 98 migrants returned to Libya after being rescued by commerical ship 

EFE: https://twitter.com/JavierMartinr1/status/1266036573537173504 

Observador: Comissão Europeia confirma: navio português violou lei ao desembarcar migrantes na Líbia [European Commission confirms: Portuguese vessel broke the law by landing migrants in Libya] 

 

  • Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela, and delegation of Maltese government officials met with Fayez al-Sarraj, Prime Minister of the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) today. Discussions revolved around “the need to push the EU to help Libya to train its coastguard, obtain funding for reception camps manned by the UN, as well as to build a realistic strategy to slow down the flow of migrants into Libya.” according to the Times of Malta. Signing a memorandum of understanding, Malta and Libya agreed to set up units in each country to coordinate operations against illegal migration. These centres are expected to start operating within the coming weeks.  

 

Libya 

  • The family of a Libyan human trafficker killed 30 migrants in revenge for his death, 11 injured survivors were taken to a hospital in Zintan.  

Reuters: Libya's Tripoli government says 30 migrants killed in revenge attack 

Le Figaro: Libye: pour venger sa mort, la famille d'un passeur tue 30 migrants [Libya: to avenge his death, the family of a smuggler kills 30 migrants] 

 

  • shelling, attributed to General Haftar, in a residential area of Tripoli wounded 3 people including 2 children, according to Anadolu Agency. 

 

Press review 


Times of MaltaThe tragedy of migration - Andrew Azzopardi and Colin Calleja 


Thomson Reuters Foundation - OPINION: Tolerance of trafficking protects Nigeria’s trade in humans, by Aiden McQuade 


Bruxelles 2- Des centaines de migrants retenus au large de Malte dans des prisons flottantes. L’affaire Captain Morgan devient européenne [Hundreds of migrants held off the coast of Malta in floating prisons. Captain Morgan case becomes European]  

27/5-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

  • Approximately 90 people were rescued by the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) yesterday. According to the AFM, 18 women and nine children were brought ashore in Malta for humanitarian reasons, while the other survivors were transferred to one of the Captain Morgan vessels anchored outside Maltese territorial waters. More than 350 people are now held on the three vessels according to a spokesperson for the Maltese Ministry of Interior. 

Times of MaltaMigrants rescued, taken to Captain Morgan vessels 

Malta TodayMore migrants transferred onto Captain Morgan ships, 'majority' come from 'safe' countries 

 

 

  • While arrivals to Italy have tripled this year in comparison to the same period in 2019, new migration routes are being established, as ARD Germany reports. Instead of departures from Libyan shores, organized largely by militias according to ARD, departures from Tunisia, facilitated by criminal organisations in Tunisia, are becoming more common. According to Luigi Patronaggio, attorney general of the Agrigento region, among those smuggled across this route were both people from sub-Saharan Africa coming through Libya or Egypt as well as Tunisians who were previously deported from Italy. Instead of rubber boats, a lot of these crossings were done on board fishing vessels that were almost impossible to distinguish from other fishing vessels for Frontex and aerial and naval Coast Guard assets. 

Tagesschau"Die Pandemie hat niemanden aufgehalten" [The pandemic didn’t stop anyone] 

 

 

  • Approximately 80 people reached the island of Gran Canaria on board two wooden boats yesterday. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, transfers to mainland Spain are currently blocked. With 1,300 people arriving on the Canary Islands since the beginning of the state of emergency due to the outbreak of COVID–19 in Spain, the islands have reportedly reached their maximum capacity for quarantining survivors. Among those who landed on the islands during this time, 3 cases of COVID–19 were confirmed. On Gran Canaria, new arrivals will be quarantined on board a vessel in the port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. 

El DiarioLos migrantes llegados en pateras harán la cuarentena en una nave del Puerto de Las Palmas sin pasar por comisaría [Migrants arriving in boats will be quarantined on a ship in the Port of Las Palmas without passing through the police station] 

El DíaSanidad hará PCR a todos los migrantes que lleguen a Canarias 

 

  • El Salto reports on the detention of the Alan Kurdi and Aita Mari, that has lasted for more than 21 days now. Although the technical deficiencies identified in the Port State Control have been rectified, both ships are still held in Palermo, according to the newspaper. The German Ministry of Transportation reportedly disagreed with the safety concerns on the Alan Kurdi voiced by the Italian inspectors. A campaign for the release of the vessels in Germany has gathered more than 4,000 signatures. Salvamento Marítimo Humanitario, the NGO operating the Aita Mari, has asked the Spanish authorities, their flag state, for support. 

El SaltoLos barcos de rescate humanitario exigen a Italia que ponga fin al bloqueo y les permitan zarpar “de inmediato” [Humanitarian rescue ships demand Italy to end the blockade and allow them to sail “immediately”] 

 

  • An inquiry into the potential responsibility of the Maltese Prime Minister and the Armed Forces of Malta for the deaths of at least five people over the Easter weekend was reportedly concluded today. The NGO Republikka that filed the complaint leading to the inquiry has voiced doubts about the speed with which the inquiry was apparently finalised. The final report has not been published yet. 

Times of MaltaInquiry concludes into Prime Minister, army's role in migrant deaths 

 

Press Review 

The GuardianThe Observer view on the failure to secure a global ceasefire during the pandemic 

InfoMigrantsFrance to relocate 750 migrants from Greece 

The New York TimesWe Are Kids Who Remember Only War  

The GuardianGreece ready to welcome tourists as refugees stay locked down in Lesbos 

26/5-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

  • Today, 70 people were rescued by the Guardia di Finanza and disembarked in Lampedusa in the beginning of afternoon. In the end of the day, they were still located at the Favarolo pier where the "first medical examinations and identification procedures [were] underway", according to Giornale di Sicilia. They "will be brought to the hotspot of Imbriacola district", reports Agrigento Notizie.  
     

Giornale di Sicilia: Nuovo sbarco di migranti a Lampedusa, 71 tunisini arrivati al molo Favaloro 

Agrigento Notizie: Continuano gli sbarchi, approdano altri 71 migranti: si alleggerisce l'hotspot 
 
 

  

 

  • Byron Camilleri, Maltese Minister of Interior disputes the Alarm Phone’s claim that survivors onboard Captain Morgan boats are staging a hunger strike. Undated videos, reportedly taken onboard one of the 3 cruise ferry ship hosting survivors and showing rescued people dancing and eating have also been published in several media outlets. While no journalist has been allowed to approach or enter in the boats to independently inform on the situation, Times of Malta reports that the State migrant welfare agency, Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers, has requested access to the three Captain Morgan ships.  

Lovin Malta: WATCH: Migrants Chant Labour Party Anthem Aboard Captain Morgan Ferry Outside Maltese Waters 

Time of Malta: Minister disputes NGO's claims of hunger strike by migrants on Captain Morgan boat 

Malta Today: [WATCH] From tourist ferries to water prisons: AFM keeps press away from Captain Morgan boats 

Time of Malta: State migrant welfare agency requests access to Captain Morgan ships 
 

  • The Italian Senate Immunity Committee rejected the request for authorization to pursue Matteo Salvini in justice on the Open Arms’ case. Matteo Renzi’s party, Italia Viva, decided not to take part in the vote but raised the fact that “many doubts still remain with regard to the Open Arms case”, adding that: “it would have been appropriate for these uncertainties to have been clarified through further preliminary investigation.” The Senate has now to vote on the matter in a plenary session that will have the final word. The date remains to be determined. (For a reminder, Matteo Salvini is accused by the court of Palermo of “kidnapping” following his refusal to allow the disembarkation of more than 80 survivors in August 2019, some of whom had been on board the Open Arms for 19 days.) 

Ansa: Giunta Senato dice no al processo a Salvini. IV non partecipa al voto 

Reuters: Italy Senate panel votes down Salvini probe over stranded migrants  

  • In an interview given to InfoMigrants, UNHCR representative Vincent Cochetel insisted on the need for a European solidarity mechanism to not leave Italy and Malta alone in the management of people rescued in the Central Med. He added however that a limitation to such a mechanism is needed as, according to him, “it is clear that the evacuation system for migrants, particularly in Greece, creates a pull factor.” Regarding Italy and Malta’s current policies, he acknowledges Italian efforts to take in survivors despite the official closure of the port and qualifies Maltese politics as more “complex” referring to Malta’s use of private operators to perform rescues.  

 

  • The request formulated by the Italian cultural and social organization ARCI to suspend the decree establishing that Italian ports are "unsafe" has been rejected by the Lazio regional administrative court (TAR) but the Court scheduled a hearing on the matter for July 20, 2020, “given the intricacy of the topics under examination." 

 

Libya 

  • The journalist Sally Hayden revealed today in the Irish Times that a 39-year-old Erythrean men who attempted to flee Libya via the sea in 2018 died in Zintan detention center (DC) yesterday. Médecins Sans Frontières said the cause seemed to be heatstroke as temperatures reached 42 degrees in the DC. 

Irish Times: Migrant (39) who failed to reach Europe dies in Libyan detention centre 

  • Libya now has 75 confirmed cases of coronavirus. In the same Irish Times report, Sally Hayden mentions that “while the pandemic is not believed to have reached detention centres, restrictions on movement have led to delays in food and other supplies.” 

 

Press review 


L’Unione Sarda - Due barchini, 23 migranti: il racconto degli ultimi sbarchi in Sardegna [Two boats, 23 migrants: the story of the last landings in Sardinia] 


Los Salto - Los barcos de rescate humanitario exigen a Italia que ponga fin al bloqueo y les permitan zarpar “de inmediato”[Humanitarian rescue ships demand that Italy end the blockade and allow them to set sail "immediately"]  


InfoMigrants- Around 400 migrants returned to Libya, 2 dead 


+++ BBC - The boat that disappeared 


Le Point- Libye : des enfants syriens enrôlés dans l'armée de Tripoli [Libya: Syrian children enlisted in Tripoli's army] 


The Guardian - Idlib to Tripoli: Turkey moves to dominate eastern Mediterranean 


Middle East Eye- “Why Europe has lost its relevance in Libya”, by Kristina Kauch  


EFE - Habilitan una nave en el puerto de La Luz para los inmigrantes llegados a Gran Canaria [A ship is set up in the port of La Luz for immigrants arriving in Gran Canaria] 


InfoMigrants- La France va accueillir 750 migrants de Grèce [France to receive 750 migrants from Greece] 

25/5-20

More than 500 people rescued in the Central Mediterranean are currently onboard private ships, awaiting a disembarkation onshore. Almost 300 are currently held outside Maltese territorial waters on three Captain Morgan vessels chartered by the Maltese government, and approximately 214 on the Moby Zazà, the ferry chartered by the Italian authorities to quarantine survivors off Porto Empedocle.  

 

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

 

  • On Friday night, Reuters reported on the rescue of 140 people by the Armed Forces of Malta that day, all transferred onboard a third Captain Morgan tourist ferry boat. 

ReutersMalta rescues 140 migrants but holds them on tourist boats offshore  

Times of Malta - Malta rescues another 140 migrants, charters third tourist boat 

 

 

  • At least one shipwreck occurred off the coast of Tunisia on Saturday, leaving one dead, 6 missing and 11 persons rescued by the Tunisian coastguard. Another 70 people have been rescued from another dinghy by the Tunisian coastguard, AP reported. 

 

  • La Stampa reported that Lampedusa was “emptied of migrants”. All have been transferred to different locations on Friday, some of them were brought to Sicily “to be hosted in first reception facilities” while others embarked on the Moby Zazà  

 

  • According to an Avvenire’s investigation report, the Italian newspaper possesses a video showing Malta’s armed forces pushing people in distress who were already inside Malta’s territorial waters out of Malta and towards Sicily during Easter. According to Avvenire, new elements show that not only one but two boats were pushed away, equipping them with fuel and efficient engines to reach Italian waters for “a total of 178 people in a single day”, constituting what the newspaper calls a “proof of a systematic strategy to remove refugees to Libya by using ghost fishing boats”. The Italian Minister of Interior Lamorgese qualified this behaviour of “absurd” and called the Maltese minister of Interior and the EU Commission on this subject 

 

 

  • On Saturday, contrary to the threat Malta had expressed, the country did not veto the vote that installed Italian Ettore Socci as force commander of the EUNAVFOR operation IRINI; instead it abstained on the vote, reports Malta Today.  

 

Press review 

Malta Today - Libya, not relocation, is only real solution to migration crisis, Robert Abela says 

Malta Today - [WATCH] From tourist ferries to water prisons: AFM keeps press away from Captain Morgan boats 

Associated Press - UN: Libya Coast Guard Intercepts, Detains About 400 Migrants  

Mediterraneo cronaca - The ghost boat has left Lampedusa, Malta deploys the third Captain Morgan 

Just Security - Tents at Sea: How Greek Officials Use Rescue Equipment for Illegal Deportations 

The New-York Times- By Air and Sea, Mercenaries Landed in Libya. Then the Plan Went South. 

InfoMigrants- Italy's 'green corridors' bring back foreign farmworkers 

22/5-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

137 people were rescued by the Italian Coast Guard and Guardia di Finanza from a wooden boat a few miles off Lampedusa on Wednesday night, as journalist Angela Caponnetto and Mediterraneo cronaca reported. The boat had reportedly departed from Sfax, Tunisia. They are currently waiting to be transferred to the quarantine vessel Moby Zazà, which has already arrived near Lampedusa. Together with the 106 people who are currently on board, the Moby Zazà will soon reach its maximum capacity of 285 places.

https://twitter.com/AngiKappa/status/1263194366111342594

http://www.mediterraneocronaca.it/2020/05/22/moby-zaza-per-i-tunisini-quarantena-sorvegliata-a-terra/

Fourteen people of Tunisian nationality were reportedly disembarked from the Moby Zazà to Porto Empedocle, Italy, last night. The group had protested their confinement on the ship all day. They will be taken to another facility, on shore, where they will start a new 14-day quarantine.

http://www.agrigentonotizie.it/cronaca/porto-empedocle-sbarcano-tunisini-proteste-nave-quarantena-partenza-lampedusa.html

Another distress case between Lampedusa and Malta was reported on Wednesday night. MRCC Malta reportedly tasked cargo vessel Maren to search for the boat in distress (but no official information was shared so far). According to journalist Sergio Scandura, a Frontex airplane also circled the area in question. 

https://twitter.com/AngiKappa/status/1263194366111342594 

http://www.mediterraneocronaca.it/2020/05/21/sbarco-a-lampedusa-e-ricerche-con-cargo-da-malta-solito-cliche-video/ 

Alarm Phone received a call from approximately 85 people in distress approximately 6 NM off Zuwarah, Libya this morning. They have since lost contact and have expressed their hope that the people, who reported strong winds and high waves, have returned to shore (seems weird to write that down that way otherwise). 

https://twitter.com/alarm_phone/status/1263751788596953088 

Today, another pregnant woman was reportedly evacuated for medical reasons from the Tremar, Maltese fishing vessel reportedly operating under the command of the Maltese authorities. The woman was evacuated by an Italian Coast Guard vessel. Five days after rescuing approximately 60 people, the boat, which has its AIS switched off, appears to be near Lampedusa. 

http://www.mediterraneocronaca.it/2020/05/22/la-barca-fantasma-e-ancora-vicino-lampedusa-ieri-un-altra-evacuazione-medica-foto-e-video/ 

More information has emerged on the drowning of a man who jumped off quarantine ship Moby Zazà off Porto Empedocle. Prosecutors in Agrigento have opened a probe into the death, an autopsy has been ordered and the finance police will investigate. Italian media outlets report tensions and desperation among the survivors on board. 

Mediterranea, Sea Watch, Open Arms and MSF Italy have issued a statement to the Italian government questioning the legal grounds for the delay of disembarkations when quarantining onshore is a possibility and highlighting the inadequacy of measures adopted in the SAR context during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/24913/migrant-drowns-after-jumping-off-quarantine-ship 

http://www.vita.it/it/article/2020/05/21/fateci-scendere-la-rivolta-dei-migranti-a-bordo-della-nave-quarantena/155568/ 

https://twitter.com/openarms_it/status/1263151017836851201 

The Armed Forces of Malta have denied allegations of putting the lives of people on a rubber boat at risk instead of rescuing them on April 12. Survivors of the incident reported to Alarm Phone that the AFM first tried forcing them to return to Libya, putting their lives at risk by making maneuvering dangerously close to them, before equipping the rubber boat and instructing the people on board to continue towards Pozzallo, Italy. The AFM have called the allegations “false and unfounded” and accused NGOs (unspecified) of making these allegations by means of paid adverts on social media. The Maltese government did not comment on the allegations against their Armed Forces. 

https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/102480/armed_forces_refuses_to_disclose_details_of_denied_rescue_to_pozzallo_migrants#.Xsev2hMzbOR 

The IOM and UNHCR have issued a joint press release to urge Malta and other European states to disembark the survivors off the Captain Morgan cruise vessels outside Maltese territorial waters. A relocation of 17 people from Malta to France on Wednesday shows, according to the agencies, that “solidarity at the time of COVID-19 is possible”. The press release was picked up in several international media outlets. 

https://www.iom.int/news/iom-unhcr-urge-european-states-disembark-rescued-migrants-and-refugees-board-captain-morgan 

https://www.ouest-france.fr/monde/migrants/l-onu-exhorte-les-pays-europeens-debarquer-160-migrants-bloques-en-mediterranee-6842265 

Protesters in Malta have also urged the government to facilitate the disembarkation of the people onboard the Captain Morgan ferries without further delay. On Wednesday, more than 30 NGOs have issued a joint letter calling on the Maltese government to disembark the survivors, who have reportedly entered a hunger strike. The signatories of the letter are voicing concerns that the physical and mental health of those stuck on the Captain Morgan vessels, some of them since more than 3 weeks, will deteriorate fast. Human Rights Watch also spoke out on the matter today. “We believe the 160 people on board tourist cruise boats on the high sea are experiencing severe emotional and physical distress”, says Judith Sunderland, acting deputy Europe and Central Asia director. 

https://lovinmalta.com/news/socially-distant-demonstrators-call-for-malta-to-take-in-captain-morgan-migrants-after-hunger-strike-reports/ 

https://aditus.org.mt/the-ill-treatment-aboard-the-captain-morgan-ships-must-be-stopped-at-once/ 

https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/05/22/malta-disembark-rescued-people 

Maltese Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo has turned to the EU in a video message on Facebook yesterday, calling on member states to show solidarity by sharing the responsibility for migrants in Malta. 

https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/102493/watch_malta_will_not_become_crisis_centre_for_migrants_foreign_minister_tells_eu?fbclid=IwAR1N9Cnem3QYc7weVZrp7TTvWbTXulUi0ABEJtdlHowfJr10GwXZAy2bkCE#.XseP2RMzbOT 

The Spanish Coast Guard rescued 35 people off the coast of Gran Canaria on Wednesday. It is the fourth rescue in six days, according to Spanish news agency EFE. With accommodation places to quarantine the survivors getting sparse, the local government on Gran Canaria has freed up sports centers. 

According to EFE, the Moroccan Navy rescued a rubber boat with 41 people of sub-Saharan origin in distress off the Moroccan coast on Wednesday. 

https://www.laprovincia.es/sucesos/2020/05/21/cuarta-patera-seis-dias-eleva/1284419.html 

Two boats carrying a total of 67 survivors arrived on Lesvos, Greece, yesterday. The survivors are from different African countries, Afghanistan and Syria. 173 people have reached Lesvos since the beginning of May. 

https://www.ekathimerini.com/252941/article/ekathimerini/news/67-migrants-land-on-island-of-lesvos  

 

Libya 

 

Self-styled General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) has announced on Wednesday that it was withdrawing from Tripoli by 2 to 3 kilometers to ease conditions for residents at the end of Ramadan. Al Jazeera notes that the withdrawal comes after the loss of strategic Al Watiya airbase, the LNA’s only airbase near Tripoli. 

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/libya-haftar-lna-pulling-tripoli-front-lines-200520180907058.html

Both LNA and GNA claim that Russia has deployed warplanes to al-Jufra airbase in central Libya to support Haftar’s LNA. Six fighter jets and two attack jets were reportedly transferred to al-Jufra. UN officials are reportedly investigating the allegations. According to a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Turkish Minister of Foreign affairs and his Russian counterpart said they backed a ceasefire in a phone call on Thursday. However, the Turkish foreign ministry issued a statement warning of ‘grave consequences’ if Haftar were to attack Turkish interests in Libya. 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/sebastienroblin/2020/05/21/russia-allegedly-sends-warplanes-to-libya-after-local-proxy-loses-key-airbase/

https://www.ft.com/content/ad6d1bea-a1a4-4ca4-ae6f-253d2679bc5c 

 

Press review 

 

InternazionaleUn morto senza nome è il simbolo della nuova frontiera europea [A nameless dead is the symbol of the new European border] 

The New HumanitarianBriefing: In search of a more humane EU migration and asylum policy 

BBCSOS from the Mediterranean (Audio documentary) 

The Washington PostLibya’s Gen. Hifter declared military rule last month. That hasn’t happened. 

The New York Times: In Stunning Reversal, Turkey Emerges as Libya Kingmaker 

Al Jazeera'Grave consequences': Turkey warns Libya's Haftar against attacks 

RFIMigrant boat crossings to UK surge during virus lockdown 

20/5-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

This morning, one of the survivors quarantined onboard the Moby Zazà, anchored off Porto Empedocle, Sicily, reportedly drowned. It is unclear at this point whether the man, a Tunisian, was trying to reach the shore swimming. The Agrigento Public Prosecutor's Office instructed the Guardia di Finanza to take charge of an investigation on this event (Repubblica: Migrante si getta in mare dalla Moby Zazà: morto). 

Last night, a 32-year-old woman was evacuated by an Italian Coast Guard vessel from the Moby Zazà for health reasons.  

Mediterraneo cronacaTragedia sulla Moby Zazà, migrante si tuffa in mare e muore 

Agrigento notizieEvacuazione medica dalla "Moby Zazà", operazione complicata per la guardia costiera: ecco le immagini 

According to MaltaToday, Malta is threatening to veto the appointment of Operation Irini’s Commander-in-Chief unless more EU country step up in the relocation of the survivors currently hosted onboard the Captain Morgan vessels outside Maltese territorial waters. The only country that has committed to taking in survivors so far is France, accepting 30 of the survivors currently onboard the Atlantis and the Europa II. 

MaltaTodayMalta gives ultimatum to EU with threat to veto Irini commander-in-chief choice 

AlarmPhone reports that on April 11, the Maltese Armed Forces (AFM) facilitated the arrival of 101 people onboard a rubber dinghy in Pozzallo. The AFM reportedly approached a rubber dinghy that was close to reaching Malta and tried to make the 101 people return to Libya after distributing life jackets. When the people onboard the rubber boat refused, the AFM provided them with an engine, fuel and GPS coordinates so that they could travel onward to Pozzallo, where they arrived on April 12. Italian newspaper Avvenire and The Guardian also report the story. There is no official confirmation yet. 

AlarmPhonehttps://twitter.com/alarm_phone/status/1262993717117452288 

The Guardian: