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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.

27/11-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

On Wednesday, the Moroccan Navy found a boat adrift in the Mediterranean, north of the city of Nador. On board were approximately 50 people of sub-Saharan origin, four of whom, two women and two children, were reportedly deceased. 

El Faro de CeutaLa Marina marroquí halla una patera con cuatro cadáveres: mujeres y bebés [The Moroccan Navy finds a boat with four bodies: women and babies] 

A survivor of the critical rescue conducted by Open Arms earlier this month was arrested in Trapani for driving the boat that collapsed, leading to the death of six people. The 21-year-old Chadian was arrested on charges of aiding and abetting illegal migration and "naufragio" (shipwreck), QdS reports. 

A new report published by SPIEGEL last night proves that contrary to his public statements, Frontex chief Fabrice Leggeri has been aware of at least one pushback by the Hellenic Coast Guard. A “Serious Incident Report” was filed by a Frontex unit that observed and documented a push-back in April, during which the Greek Coast Guard first took survivors on board of their patrol vessel, but then towed them back to Turkish waters on a rubber boat with no engine. Leggeri mentioned the incident in a letter to the Greek government in May. Frontex has admitted that it did not initially classify the incident as a violation of fundamental rights, the internal Fundamental Rights Officer was not alerted until September. 

SPIEGELWie Frontex-Chef Leggeri die Öffentlichkeit getäuscht hat [How Frontex-boss Leggeri deceived the public] 

No autonomous landings have been reported in Lampedusa for some days now, reportedly in particular due to bad weather conditions. The hotspot in Lampedusa, which at times hosted up to 1400 people, only holds about forty now. 186 people boarded the quarantine ship Adriatico yesterday, all of them tested negative for COVID-19. 

 

Atlantic Route 

 

348 people reached the island of Gran Canaria yesterday. Almost 1000 people spent the night in the makeshift camp at Arguineguín pier, el Diario reports. 

The Spanish ombudsman (“Defensor del Pueblo”) has sent a letter to the Spanish Ministry of the Interior demanding the immediate closure of the makeshift camp at Arguineguín pier on Gran Canaria. The letter serves as a  reminder of legal duties, one of the highest administrative actions the ombudsman can take. 

Cadena SEREl Defensor del Pueblo pide a Interior el cierre inmediato del campamento de Arguineguín [Ombudsman calls on Interior to close Arguineguín camp immediately]  

 

 Libya 

 

The US government has unilaterally blacklisted the Kaniyat militia, an armed group affiliated with Khalifa Haftar, for war crimes and crimes against humanity. According to the Turkish media TRT World, this is seen by international law experts as a sign that Haftar will eventually be persecuted for his crimes in Libya. 

ReutersU.S. blacklists Libyan militia, leader after Russia stops U.N. sanctions 

 

Press Review 

 

Il Sole 24 Ore: Migranti, sbarchi dalla Tunisia: +400%. Lamorgese: «Risposta unitaria dall’Ue» [Migrants, landings from Tunisia: +400%. Lamorgese: " A united response from the EU".] 

The New York TimesE.U. Border Agency Accused of Covering Up Migrant Pushback in Greece 

Blog of the European Journal of International LawWhy it is so Hard to Hold Frontex Accountable: On Blame-Shifting and an Outdated Remedies System 

The EconomistWest Africans are dying trying to reach the Canary Islands 

Operation EUNAVFOR MED Irini: Shared Awareness and De-confliction in the Mediterranean (SHADE MED) 

26/11-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

More details have emerged about the so-called “Non-Paper” circulated by Italy, Malta, Spain and Greece in reaction to the EU Commission’s proposal for a “Pact on Migration and Asylum”. As seen in the Context Update yesterday, the Mediterranean coastal States argue that while their responsibilities are clearly defined, the proposed solidarity mechanisms are too vague. Instead, the signatories of the paper demand mandatory quotas for relocation among EU Member States of people who could qualify for refugee status are necessary. The full text of the response has been published on Twitter

Associated Press: EU nations on Med coast renew push for migrant quotas 
EU Observer: EU 'front-line' states want clearer migration rules 

El PaísEspaña, Italia, Grecia y Malta se unen para rechazar el pacto migratorio de la UE [Spain, Italy, Greece and Malta join forces to reject the EU migration pact] 

 

Atlantic Route 

 

The death toll of the shipwreck off Lanzarote on Tuesday night has risen to nine, InfoMigrants reports. 

According to EFE, the Spanish Coast Guard has rescued around 180 people from 6 boats off Gran Canaria during the night. 

During a press conference, the Head of the Spanish Navy was asked by a politician of the Spanish far-right whether a sea blockade would be possible to prevent arrivals to the Canary Islands. The Admiral responded that any Spanish warship in the proximity of a boat in distress would fulfill its moral and legal obligation to provide assistance by rescuing. 

El Diario: La contundente respuesta del jefe de la Armada española a la petición de Vox de un bloqueo naval en Canarias [The overwhelming response of the head of the Spanish Navy to Vox's request for a naval blockade of the Canary Islands] 

 

Press Review 

 

Alarm Phone: November Shipwrecks - Hundreds of Visible and Invisible Deaths in the Central Med 

Swissinfo: Analysis: Libya's rival forces have stopped shooting, but they're not pulling back 

El País: Rescate a la luz de los móviles en Lanzarote [Search with mobile phone spotlights in Lanzarote] 

25/11-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

The Guardia di Finanza intercepted a sailing vessel carrying 52 people, mostly of Iranian and Iraqi nationality, among them women and children, off Crotone, South of Italy, early this morning. Two men of Russian nationality were arrested on suspicion of smuggling. The boat presumably departed from Antalya. 

CrotoneNewsGuardia di Finanza intercetta imbarcazione di migranti a Capocolonna: 52 iraniani e iracheni tra cui donne e bambini [Guardia di Finanza intercepts migrants' boat in Capocolonna: 52 Iranians and Iraqis including women and children] 

In article published today, Der Spiegel further details the policy of EU border enforcement agency Frontex to silence concerns raised within its ranks. Swedish and Danish teams dispatched on Frontex missions were reportedly discouraged from filing formal “Serious Incident Reports”, complicating the documentation of human rights violations witnessed by Frontex units. The article also puts into question internal “oversight” mechanisms such as the agency’s ‘Fundamental Rights Officer’ for their lack of independence. 

Italy, Malta, Spain and Greece have sent comments on the proposed EU Pact on Migration and Asylum to the other member states, criticising that it is “too detailed and rigid in terms of the responsibility of the countries of first entry”, while “the solidarity mechanism remains complex and vague”. 

Il Foglio: Italia e i paesi del Mediterraneo bocciano il Patto Ue sui migranti [Italy and the Mediterranean countries reject the EU Pact on migrants] 

 

___ Atlantic Route 

 

At least eight people drowned when a dinghy carrying 35 to 37 people sank off Lanzarote, Canary Islands, last night. Their boat reportedly sank after hitting the breakwater of a port of the island in bad weather. 

EuropapressEl hallazgo de un nuevo cuerpo eleva a ocho los migrantes muertos tras el vuelco de la patera de Órzola [The discovery of a new body brings the number of migrants who died following the capsizing of the boat off Órzola to eight] 
EFECuatro nuevos cadáveres elevan a 8 las víctimas del naufragio de Lanzarote [Four new bodies bring the number of victims of the Lanzarote shipwreck to eight] 

InfoMigrants: Eight dead, search continues for missing after boat capsizes off Canary Islands 

The Spanish Coast Guard and Guardia Civil reportedly rescued at least 300 people on 11 boats off the Canary Islands last night. One death has been confirmed. Most of the survivors have been transferred to Gran Canaria, six have reportedly been referred to hospitals. 

 

Press Review 

 

SOS MEDITERRANEE[Eyes on the Central Med #7] Four shipwrecks within 72 hours while most civil rescue assets remain blocked 

Mer et MarineL'Ocean Viking va rejoindre un chantier naval [The Ocean Viking is going into shipyard] 

DomaniLe Ong vanno difese, sono le uniche che rispondono al grido: «Uomo in mare» [NGOs must be defended, they are the only ones responding to the call: “Man overboard”] 

Sueddeutsche ZeitungWie Seenotretter einem Flüchtlingspaar seine Eheringe zurückbrachten [How sea rescuers returned a refugee couple’s wedding rings] 

InfoMigrantsHRW calls on Italy to strengthen migrant legal protections 

24/11-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  

 

After being blocked for over 2 months, Sea Watch’s aircraft Moonbird went back to the central Mediterranean today. 

223 people onboard the Italian quarantine-ship Azzurra were disembarked in Pozzallo yesterday after completing their quarantine period, the local media Giornale di Sicilia reported.  

According to the Middle East Eye Monitor, yesterday Turkey “summoned the envoys of the European Union, Germany and Italy to protest against German attempt to search a Libya-bound, Turkish-flagged commercial ship”. This declaration followed the interrupted search conducted by the German vessel “Hamburg, from operation IRINI, onboard a Turkish cargo vessel suspected of transporting weapons to Libya. (see yesterday’s CU) 
 

Atlantic Route 


Salvamento Marítimo and the Civil Guard rescued a total of 180 people onboard seven boats in the south of Gran Canaria this morning. They have been disembarked at the Arguineguín dock. Yesterday, 203 people were reported to have arrived on the island and Fuerteventura. As reported by El Diario, twenty-one had arrived autonomously and at least 149 were rescued in six operations. 

Publico: Rescatan de madrugada al sur de Gran Canaria a 180 migrantes de siete pateras [They rescue 180 migrants from seven boats in the south of Gran Canaria] 

 

In Libya  


A consultative session of Libya's House of Representatives (HoRbegan today in TangiersMorocco. The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) expressed its “hope that the HoR will work on the implementation of the roadmap agreed upon by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum towards the holding of national elections on December 24, 2021 

 

Press Review 


Spotify Podcast: Pourquoi les sauveteurs de SOS Méditerranée ne peuvent-ils plus intervenir en mer ? [Why are SOS MEDITERRANAEE rescuers no longer able to operate at sea?] (Interview with Sophie Beau) 

Mediapart«Les Grecs nous ont fait monter sur des radeaux gonflablespuis ils nous ont repoussés» ["The Greeks put us on inflatable rafts and then they pushed us back."] (Article attached) 

RagusaOggiPorto Empedocle: Nave quarantena attracca per fare rifornimento fuggono una ventina di migranti [Porto EmpedocleQuarantine ship docks to refuel, about 20 migrants flee] 

El Pais: Los anillos perdidos que rescató el ‘Open Arms’ [The lost rings rescued by the 'Open Arms'] 
Courrier International: Les Canaries espagnoles deviennent-elles des “îles-prisons” pour les migrants ? [Are the Spanish Canaries becoming "prison islands" for migrants?] 

El DiarioEl Gobierno entregará 10 millones de euros a Canarias para la atención de 2.000 menores migrantes [The Government will deliver 10 million euros to the Canary Islands for the care of 2,000 migrant minors] 

The Guardian: Rescuers recover migrants' wedding rings lost at sea 

23/11-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  


___ Central Med 

 

According to IOM Libya’s latest Maritime update, between the 17 and 23 November, 7 bodies washed up on Libyan shores. The international organisation did not witness any forced returns during that period 
 

Yesterday, Turkey interrupted the German naval frigate "Hamburg" of Operation IRINI as they were searching a Turkish cargo ship suspected of transporting weapons to Libya. German forces had boarded the cargo ship and started the search when Ankara accused the EUNAVFOR MED team of violating international law by not waiting for permission from Turkey. Eventually, the German forces interrupted the search, “during which no evidence of illicit material was found on board” according to a statement by Operation IRINI, and the cargo ship resumed its course towards Misrata, Libya.  


Der Spiegel: Türkei verhindert Bundeswehrinspektion auf verdächtigem Frachter [Turkey prevents Bundeswehr inspection on suspicious freighter] 

AFP: Un navire turc en route vers la Libye arraisonné par une frégate allemande [Turkish ship en route to Libya boarded by German frigate] 

Reuters: Turkey cries foul at German attempt to police Libya blockade 

 


___ Eastern Med  

 

A speedboat, reportedly smuggling migrants from Turkey, partially sank before reaching land near the north-western coast of Rhodes, Greece, this morning, Associated Press reported. Thirteen people were found safe on the nearby shore, while the body of one man was recovered. The survivors told authorities that 14 people had been onboard.  

 


Atlantic Route 

 

30 people were rescued from a dinghy by Salvamento Maritimo this morning and disembarked at the Arguineguín dock. Among them, 8 people, including five minors, two in serious condition, were transferred to health centres.  

 


Libya 

One person was wounded in a landmine explosion in Ain Zara, south of Tripoli, on Saturday, the Libya Observer reported. 

 
 

Press Review  


InfomigrantsEuropean Commission: Italy, Greece and Spain need more help on migration 

Politico: Sicilian fishermen’s capture escalates ‘red prawn war’ between Italy and Libya 

EFE: La juez no ve delito en las condiciones de Arguineguín, aunque sean "deplorables" [The judge does not see a crime in the conditions of Arguineguínalthough they are "deplorable"] 

El Pais: Dakhla: the departure point for migrants to Spain’s Canary Islands 

 InfomigrantsCanaries : l'Espagne renforce sa coopération avec le Maroc et le Sénégal [Spain’s foreign minister visits Senegal to discuss migration] 

InfomigrantsSénégal : la jeunesse en colère face aux drames de l'émigration [Senegalyouth angry at the dramas of emigration] 

20/11-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

177 people of Afghan, Iraqi and Iranian nationality were reportedly rescued by the Guardia di Finanza off Roccella Jonica, in the Calabria region of Italy, last night. According to some local media, 93 of them tested positive for COVID-19. 

Tgcom24Nuovo sbarco nel Reggino: oltre 100 migranti, ci sono anche donne e bambini 

LametinoNuovo sbarco di migranti nel Reggino, 93 positivi al Covid 

According to the Turkish Ministry of Defense, a Turkish frigate was involved in the interception of a boat in distress off Libya last week. 

 

Atlantic Route 

 

In a press release published today, the IOM has expressed its concern about the increase in deaths recorded along the Atlantic Route between Western Africa and the Canary Islands. The organisation once more emphasised that the current estimate of 511 lives lost this year represents a minimum and that the actual death toll is likely to be much higher. 

IOM2020 Death Toll in West Africa Sea Route Tops 500 Amid Uptick in Departures 

The government of the Canary Islands has called upon EU Member States to take in people who have reached the islands by boat. The Spanish government is reported to focus mainly on expulsions. 

El Diario: El Gobierno canario demanda que los países miembros de la UE asuman la acogida de personas migrantes 

After weeks of protests by overworked rescuers, the Spanish Minister of Transport has announced that material and human resources would be provided to the Spanish Coast Guard on the Canary Islands. 

El DiarioÁbalos anuncia el refuerzo de los medios materiales y humanos de Salvamento Marítimo en Canarias 

 

Libya 

 
On the first evacuation flight in almost a year, the UNHCR evacuated 79 vulnerable asylum-seekers from Libya to Rwanda last night. 

 

Press Review 

 

London School of Economics European Politics and Policy BlogCriminalising search and rescue activities can only lead to more deaths in the Mediterranean 

EU ObserverEU migration system relies on despots, Schäuble says 

InfoMigrantsItaly's plan to abolish quota system sparks political clash 

MSF“What Europe is experiencing today, is not a humanitarian crisis, but a crisis of humanity.” (Speech delivered by MSF International President Dr Christos Christou to the High-level Interparliamentary Conference on Migration and Asylum in Europe yesterday) 

___ 

 

ReutersA group of villagers, a migrant boat and a deadly end in Senegal 

APSpain in diplomatic push over migrant flow to Canary Islands 

Amnesty International: Malta: Amnesty International launches flagship campaign highlighting three youths facing injustice in Malta 

VICEThree Young Men Face Life in Prison for Preventing the Return of Refugees to Libya 

InfoMigrantsCeuta et Melilla : la justice espagnole valide les refoulements automatiques de migrants illégaux [Ceuta and Melilla: Spanish justice approves automatic expulsions of illegal migrants] 

___ 

 

Spiegel OnlineVerfahren gegen Hilfsorganisationen in Griechenland: »Man will uns ruhigstellen« [Legal proceedings against aid organisations in Greece: “They want to silence us”] 

Alarm PhoneOngoing Violent Pushbacks both at Sea and on Land [Report on the Aegean] 

19/11-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

The European Parliament and German Bundestag, in cooperation with the Portuguese and Slovene parliaments and the European Commission, organised a high-level conference on an EU migration and asylum system today. The issue of sea rescue was raised by political stakeholders and civil society representatives. See the programme here. You can watch the plenary sessions and roundtable debates here

EP Press ReleaseMigration and asylum: time to find balance between solidarity and responsibility 

EuractivEn matière d’asile, « il n’existe aucune solution qui satisfasse tout le monde » prévient Ursula von der Leyen [As regards asylum, "there is no solution that satisfies everyone," warns Ursula von der Leyen] 

AdnKronosMigranti, Sassoli: "Ue credibile nel mondo solo se gestisce flussi" [Migrants, Sassoli: “The EU is credible in the world only if it manages the [migration] flows”] 

 

___ Central Med 

 

With the opening of an additional building at the hotspot on Lampedusa, the island’s first reception facility now has room to house 328 people, 136 more than previously. 

InfoMigrantsItaly: Lampedusa hotspot will have room for 136 additional migrants 
 

___ Atlantic route 

 

A new report by the IOM’s Missing Migrants and Displacement Tracking Matrix projects highlights the resumption of migration routes from coasts of Western Africa to the Canary Islands. According to the IOM, 16,760 people have reached the Canary Islands between January 1 and November 15, 2020, an increase of 1,019 per cent compared to the same period in 2019. 41 shipwrecks and 511 deceased or missing persons were recorded during this time. However, the report also details the challenges to data collection on migration routes in general and the Canary Route in particular. The actual number of shipwrecks and missing persons that are not reported and unaccounted for may be higher. 

IOMWest And Central Africa — Irregular Migration Routes To Europe (January — November 2020) 

A representative of the Canary Islands has insisted that the archipelago is “not a cage” and “shall not become another Lesvos or Lampedusa”. The remarks came after the eviction of 200 people formerly held at the overcrowded Arguineguín pier on Gran Canaria on Tuesday, for whom reception places were not yet available, fault of a lack of coordination between authorities. Yesterday, a reception centre at a vacant military facility on Gran Canaria was opened. 

El DiarioUn error policial facilitó el desalojo de los 200 migrantes del muelle de Arguineguín [A police error facilitated the eviction of 200 migrants from the Arguineguin dock] 

EuropapressOramas dice que Canarias "no es una jaula" y avisa: "No se puede convertir en una Lampedusa o un Lesbos" [Oramas says that the Canaries "are not a cage" and warns: "You cannot turn them into a Lampedusa or a Lesbos”] 

 

___ Eastern Med 

 

The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has published a report calling on the Greek government to reform its immigration detention system and stop pushbacks. The CPT emphasizes the human rights obligations and the duty of care of the Greek authorities vis-à-vis migrants and asylum seekers. 

Council of Europe: Council of Europe’s anti-torture Committee calls on Greece to reform its immigration detention system and stop pushbacks 

 

Libya 

 

According to the Libyan Army, mercenary groups, including Russian mercenaries and Sudanese Janjaweed, continue to dig trenches in Sirte, which is currently controlled by Haftar’s forces. According to an army spokesperson, the provisions of the ceasefire agreement are not properly implemented, especially in and around Sirte. 

Daily SabahForeign mercenaries continue to dig trenches in Libya's Sirte despite cease-fire 

 

Press Review 

 

Open MigrationDue anni dopo i Decreti Salvini, il sistema di accoglienza cade a pezzi [Two years after the Salvini Decrees, the reception system is falling apart] 

The New York TimesAsylum Seeker Who Lost His Son on Trek to Greece Is Charged in His Death 

Human Rights WatchPushbacks in Greek Waters Put Lives at Risk 

EU ObserverGreece promises new asylum reception centres by 2021 

 Libya ReviewWhat is Turkey doing in Libya? And why? 

18/11-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

___ Central Med 

 

Sixteen people, including two women, landed in the village of Neranoprovince of Naples, Italy, onboard two boats. It is the first time that such an arrival by the sea occurs in the Amalfi Coast, according to local media 

 
 
___ Atlantic route 

 

large canoe who had been drifting for several days at sea ran aground on Sunday on a Cape Verde island. Onboard were 64 survivors, the French press agency AFP reported, without being able to indicate whether and how many people are missing. Most of the survivors were suffering from exhaustion. One person died several hours after being taken to a local hospital. An investigation is underway to determine whether the boat was carrying other people and what happened on board. 

Infomigrants: More than 380 migrants arrive in Cape Verde and Canary Islands 

Yesterday, Spanish rescue services rescued more than 320 people onboard ten different boats off the Canary Islands. All were taken to the Arguineguín dock, Associated Press reported 


___ Eastern Med 

 

Following a freedom of information request, the EUobserver obtained a chain email from Frontex, that "shows that the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) received orders to push migrants back into Turkish territorial waters according to the media outlet. 

 

In Libya 

 
The Minister of Interior of the Libyan UN-Backed Government of National Accord (GNA), Fathi Bashagha, arrived in Paris, France today, on an official visit. According to Libyan Express, Bashagha is set to meet with French heads of security and policy, as well as a group of security companies “to strengthen joint security cooperation between Libya and France, specifically Counter-Terrorism, organized crime and training in the field of international security. 

 Following yesterday’s meeting between the Operation Commander of Operation IRINI, Fabio Agostini and the Libyan Defense Minister, Salah Al Namoush, on “EU contributions on security” (see yesterday’s Context Update) the Libyan news agency reported today that “Al Namroush said that the EU support for Libya does not meet the challenges faced by the Libyan Navy”, adding that “unless Irini was a comprehensive operation that involves all ground, air and marine borders nothing would be changed. 

 

Press review:  

 
Ara: "Children's shrouds shouldn't exist", by Marc Reig, Open Arms Chief of Mission 

EkathimeriniMigrants stopped on Italy-bound yacht 

Refugee Rights Europe: Pushbacks and Rights Violations at Europe’s Borders (SOS MEDITERRANEE mentioned) 

Infomigrants: Italy: Police complain of violence, COVID risk at Sardinia migrant center 

Lamarea: «Con la nueva patera que ha llegado no tenemos espacio físico en el muelle» ["With the new boat that has arrived we have no physical space on the dock"] 

 MediapartEn Libye, des Mirage entretenus par des sociétés françaises au cœur de soupçons de crimes de guerre [In Libya, Mirage aircraft maintained by French companies at the heart of suspicions of war crimes] (Article attached) 

Infomigrants: Youssef, Guinéen : "Ils nous ont dit qu’on allait en Europe alors qu’ils nous ramenaient à Tripoli" 

17/11-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

___ Central Med 

 

Last week, the prosecutor's office in Agrigento, Sicilyopened an investigation “against unknown individuals” following the shipwreck that claimed six lives, including the 6-month baby boy Joseph, during the Open Arms critical rescue last Wednesday. The investigation file lists potential crimes of “shipwreck and aiding and abetting clandestine immigration” according to the Italian press agency ANSA. This investigation reportedly aims to ascertain whether there have been any delays” in the rescue and - if so if someone [would] be responsible for the tragic death of little Joseph or not” explains Alessandra Ziniti in La Repubblica (the article provides a timeline of events as well). 

InfomigrantsProbe into shipwreck and death of 6-month-old infant Warning: a mistake in the original agency dispatch seems not to have been corrected30 miles north of the Libyan coast (given position of the rescue) would be in international waters, not territorial waters. 

 Between the 10 and 16 November, 409 people were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya, IOM Libya reported in its latest Maritime update. 

Yesterday, the Tunisian navy rescued 24 people from Sub-Saharan origins, including seven women, onboard a drifting boat taking water off the coast of Kerkennah Islands.  

Infomigrants: Une vingtaine de migrants interceptés en mer par l'armée tunisienne [Around twenty migrants intercepted at sea by the Tunisian army] 

According to Frontex, between January and October 2020, the total number of crossings in the Central Mediterranean more than doubled compared to last year, reaching over 28 400.  

Frontex: Situation at EU external borders – Arrivals down in Western and Eastern Mediterranean 

 In its latest Italy weekly snapshot, UNHCR reported that between 8 and 15 November, 1,545 people arrived in Italy by sea. Since the beginning of this month up to the 15th, 4,902 people arrived in Italy, representing an increase of 1573% compared to the same period last year.  
 
 

___ Western Med 


From January 1st to November 15, the Canary Islands received 16,760 people rescued from dinghies or fragile wooden boatseleven times more than throughout the same period in 2019, the Spanish press agency EFE reported.   

Yesterday evening, 5 boats were rescued by Salvamento Marítimo with a total of 120 people onboard. They were expected to be disembarked in the port of Arguineguín. Yesterday only, over 230 people arrived by the sea in the Canaries Islands, according to El Diario 
 

 

In Libya 

 
Operation Commander of UNAVFOR MED Operation IRINI, Fabio Agostini, met with the Libyan Defence Minister on “EU contributions on security”, including discussions on arms embargo and training. The EU ambassador head of delegation to Libya, Jose Sabadellreported a “significant potential […] to increase cooperation on security”. 

 
 

Press review:  

 

La Repubblica: L'arcivescovo Lorefice: "Con la morte di Joseph a Lampedusa abbiamo ucciso il nostro futuro" [Archbishop Lorefice: "With the death of Joseph in Lampedusa we killed our future"] 

Il Riformista: Salvare i naufragi è un dovere, opporsi è illegale [Saving castaways is a duty, opposing is illegal] 

Infomigrants: Italy: Migrants including teens found in refrigerated truck 

Europapress: Morales recuerda a Marlaska que los migrantes pasan en Arguineguín (Gran Canaria) "más de una semana" y "hacinados" [Morales reminds Marlaska that the migrants spend "more than a week" and "crowded" in Arguineguín (Gran Canaria)] 
The Guardian: Father faces criminal charge over son’s death in migrant boat tragedy 

 The Guardian: Greece faces legal action over alleged expulsion of Syrian to Turkey 

16/11-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

___ Central Med 


 

On Saturday, two rubber boats were intercepted with 199 persons onboard and returned to Libya, among which 28 women & 31 children whose boat deflated. Many people fell in the water, UNHCR reported. The following night, 77 other persons were intercepted and returned to Tripoli by the Libyan Coast Guard according to the same organisation.  

A shipwreck of a boat with 31 people on board occurred in the night between Saturday and Sunday, about 4 miles away from Lampedusa. All were rescued by the Italian Coast Guard and the Guardia di FinanzaAccording to Mediterraneo Cronaca, the boat had been spotted in the afternoon in the Maltese SRR, South of Lampedusa, by a helicopter of the Guardia di Finanza.    

Euronews: VIDEO: Footage of the rescue 

Rai News: Migrants: boat capsizes near Lampedusa, except for the 31 people on board 

 Shortly before this shipwreck, a boat with 186 people had been escorted to the port of Lampedusa by the Guardia di FinanzaAnother small boat, with 12 Tunisians on boardwas also rescued off the island. All survivors were taken to the hotspot in the Imbriacola district.  

ADN kronosMigrants, the wave of landings in Lampedusa continues 

The Open Arms transferred 255 survivors on Italian coastguard vessels on Sunday. Unaccompanied minors and adults were separated. The 73 unaccompanied minors were transferred onto the Diciotti ship of the Italian coastguard and disembarked in PozzalloSicily, along with 23 other unaccompanied minors who were rescued by the Asso 30, La Repubblica reported. The adults were transferred by the Italian coastguard onto the quarantine-ship SNV Adriatica. According to Riccardo Gatti, head of mission of Open Arms, the crew and SAR team members of Open Arms were put under quarantine despite being tested negative to COVID-19.  

Deutsche WelleOpen Arms rescue ship brings 255 migrants to Italy 

Contrary to previous announcements, the backpack retrieved from the water by the Open Arms team on November 9 belonged to survivors of a shipwreck off the coast of Lampedusa. They were identified by MSF Italy teams, who are providing the survivors of this deadly shipwreck with psychological first aid 

Sea-Eye presented their new ship, the Sea-Eye 4, on Sunday. The former offshore supply ship, largely financed by the United4Rescue allianceis currently in Northern Germany and is being converted into a rescue ship.  

EKD: Bündnis United4Rescue finanziert mit der Sea-Eye-4 ein weiteres Rettungsschiff [The United4Rescue alliance is financing another rescue ship, the Sea-Eye-4] 

InfomigrantsGermany's Sea-Eye adds fourth migrant rescue ship to fleet 

 
 

 
___ Western Med 


 

With 8,102 people reaching the Canaries Islands between October 15 and November 15, the number of people arriving on the archipelago by sea doubled in one month compared to all of 2020 (over 16,000 people arrived since January)This weekend, between Saturday afternoon and Sunday mid-day onlySalvamento Marítimo rescued 14 boats with a total of 510 people onboard according to Europapress. All have been taken to Gran Canaria. 

El Periodico de Canarias: Salvamento traslada a Gran Canaria a 341 migrantes que viajaban en 9 pateras [Salvamento transfers 341 migrants traveling in 9 boats to Gran Canaria] 

Europapress: They rescue 49 people, four babies and an old man, from two boats in the Strait and 16 migrants arrive in Almería 

 
 

In Libya 


 

Testimonies of prisoners of the Abu Issa detention center in Tripoli, and of some of their loved ones, collected by Giulia Tranchina (Italian lawyer specialised in Human rights) and confirmed by UNSMIL, revealed that about forty Eritreans were captured last July and tortureto extort ransoms of 1,200 dinars from relatives since thenBefore raping the womenreports Avvenirethe torturers called their husbands in Libya to describe what they are about to do and speed up payments. 

AvvenireMigrants. In the Tripoli concentration camps another 40 Eritreans, tortured and blackmailed 

 Political talks between 75 Libyan delegates gathered for a week at the invitation of the UN in the suburbs of Tunis were suspended on Sunday. They failed to reach agreement on the names of their future leaders to oversee a transition period leading to elections in 2021. They will resume discussions in a week's time. 

The Arab Weekly: Tunis talks end without naming interim Libyan government 

Le Monde: Libye : pas d’accord sur un nouveau gouvernement d’union [Libya: no agreement on a new unity government] 
 

 

Press review:  


 

ParlEUThursday 19: High-level Conference on Migration and Asylum 

Süeddeutsche Zeitung: Das Sterben im Mittelmeer macht keine Pause [Dying in the Mediterranean doesn't take a break] 

InfomigrantsSenegal mourns those who drowned migrating 

Times of Malta: Malta is ‘implicated’ in migrant deaths, says Alarm Phone 

UNHCR Malta: Malta through the Eyes of a Refugee – Abbas 

El Pais: Fatoumata's drawing after surviving a shipwreck 

LiberationTunisie : à Chebba, le championnat de football ou la Méditerranée ["Tunisia: in Chebba, the football championship or the Mediterranean] 

IOM: IOM and UNHCR Carry out Joint Visit to the Canary Islands Amid Increasing Arrivals 

Human Rights Watch: Spain: Respect Rights of People Arriving by Sea to Canary Islands 

Le Monde: Les Canaries, débordées par l’afflux de migrants : « Ces citoyens dorment au milieu des rats » [The Canary Islands, overwhelmed by the influx of migrants: "These citizens are sleeping among the rats"] (Article Attached) 

Euronews: L'accueil des migrants en question sur les îles Canaries [The reception of the migrants in question on the Canary Islands] 

Vice: Greece Is Weaponizing the Coronavirus Against Refugees  

13/11-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

___ Central Med 

 

Médecins Sans Frontières reported on a second deadly shipwreck off the Libyan coast within a day yesterday: According to three women who were rescued by fishermen off Sorman, Libya, approximately 20 people are missing at sea and must be feared dead. IOM spokesperson Safa Msehli confirmed the shipwreck in a video statement today. 

According to journalist Sergio Scandura, the Open Arms was assigned Trapani, Sicily, as a Place of Safety to disembark 252 survivors and 6 bodies recovered in three operations since Tuesday. 5 more persons were evacuated for medical reasons by the Italian Coast Guard last night. The ship is currently approaching the coast of Italy near Trapani. 

Also according to Sergio Scandura, the crew on offshore supply vessel Asso Trenta rescued 76 people in the proximity of the Bouri oil field last night. They survivors will reportedly be disembarked in Trapani as well. 

168 people on two boats who departed from Libya were rescued by the Italian Coast Guard off Lampedusa today according to journalist Angela CaponnettoAlarm Phone had previously alerted to the distress cases. 

The Maltese MRCC sent several Navtex messages on behalf of the Libyan JRCC and Coast Guard today, alerting ships in the Central Mediterranean to a rubber boat in distress. A first message was sent this morning and a second one this afternoon. The second message detailed that there were people in the water, Sea Watch reported. 

The Chair of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany, Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, met with Italian Minister of Transport Paola De Micheli and an Italian Coast Guard representative to push for the release of the Sea Watch 4 from administrative detention. 

EKDBemühungen um Freigabe der "Sea-Watch 4" 

 

___ Western Med 

 

The Spanish government has presented a 10-point “shock plan” to respond to the surge of arrivals to the Canary Islands. The plan includes a strengthening of the security forces in countries of origin and of the diplomatic channels with those countries through a “joint response with the European Union”. Frontex will remain present on Gran Canaria until late January to support the local police in “combatting trafficking networks”. The Spanish government is also negotiating with Frontex and Senegal over the deployment of aerial assets on the Atlantic route. While aerial and maritime presence of third countries is to be reinforced, it is not clear whether the Spanish Coast Guard, stretched because of the high number of arrivals, will be reinforced. Visits to Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal by Spanish officials are planned in the coming months. The President of the Canary Islands has also called for the establishment of humanitarian corridors. 

El DiarioMedios aéreos y marítimos como plan de choque del Gobierno de España para "bloquear la salida de cayucos y pateras" hacia Canarias [Air and sea assets as a shock plan by the Spanish government to "block the exit of cayucos and pateras" to the Canary Islands] 

El PaísEl Gobierno centra su estrategia para la crisis migratoria de Canarias en la cooperación policial y una acogida temporal en carpas [The Government focuses its strategy for the migration crisis on the Canary Islands on police cooperation and temporary accommodation in tents] 

Two Senegalese men were arrested in Málaga today on charges of encouraging illegal immigration. They are suspected to have piloted a boat with 46 people on board who were rescued off the coast of Granada, Spain, on Tuesday. 

EuropapressDetenidos en Málaga el conductor y el copiloto de una patera con 46 personas a bordo por favorecer la inmigración ilegal [Driver and co-pilot of a boat with 46 people on board arrested in Malaga for encouraging illegal immigration] 

 

Press Review 

 

EuronewsAt least 74 drown after migrant boat breaks down off Libya coast 

The GuardianMore than 110 migrants die in Mediterranean in three days 

Cadena SER"Le pregunté a mi padre dónde está mamá y me dijo que no sabía": el relato de un niño rescatado en el mar [“I have asked my father where Mum is and he told me he doesn’t know”: The story of a child rescued at sea] 

WARNING – distressing video content: Paris Match"Où est mon bébé?" : le cri de détresse d'une mère après le naufrage d'un bateau de migrants [“Where is my baby?”: A mother’s cry of despair after the shipwreck of a migrant boat] 

TVE"A los migrantes en Libia los extorsionan y los torturan" ["Migrants in Libya are extorted and tortured"] 

ANSAMigranti: A Lampedusa non c'era una bara per piccolo Yusuf [There was no coffin for little Yusuf in Lampedusa] 

InfoMigrantsTunisian NGO: Migrant arrivals in Italy up 180% in October 

Al JazeeraTensions persist as Libya’s warring sides debate road to peace 

TagesspiegelWas Kinder im Flüchtlingslager Moria erleiden mussten [What children had to suffer at refugee camp Moria] 

12/11-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

___ Central Med 

 

More than 70 people died in a shipwreck off Al Khums, Libya, today. 120 people were onboard the boat, 47 of whom were rescued by fishermen and the Libyan Coast Guard and returned to the Libyan shore. 31 bodies have been recovered. The search for victims continues. 

IOM: Devastating Shipwreck Off Libya Claims More than 70 Lives 

In a third operation within less than 48 hours, the crew on the Open Arms rescued 64 people in distress last night. Yesterday afternoon, 6-month-old Joseph from Guinea-Conakry died from the consequences of the shipwreck that the Open Arms crew had rescued him from. The body of the baby boy was evacuated from the Open Arms along with 5 survivors in critical medical condition by an Italian Coast Guard helicopter last night. 3 of the evacuated survivors, a mother, her child and a man, were brought to a hospital in Malta, while the two other evacuated survivors, a 7 months pregnant woman and the mother of the deceased baby boy along with the boy’s body were taken to Lampedusa. 257 rescued people and five bodies remain on the Open Arms, awaiting a Place of Safety. 

AP: 5 migrants evacuated, 257 onboard Mediterranean rescue ship 

L’Orient Le Jour (AFP): Une ONG recueille 263 migrants et déplore six morts 

The Guardian: Baby dies on rescue boat after Mediterranean shipwreck 

InternazionaleMorire a sei mesi nel Mediterraneo 

246 people reached Lampedusa last night and this morning. 102 people were rescued by the Italian Coast Guard and Lampedusa Harbour Master last night, 70 people were rescued by the Italian Coast Guard at dawn and 74 people reached Lampedusa autonomously this morning. They were taken to the hotspot of Lampedusa, which currently hosts more than 800 people. 

AdnKronosMigranti, ancora sbarchi a Lampedusa: arrivati oltre 240 

The Maltese Rescue Coordination Centre reportedly issued a Navtex yesterday, alerting all ships transiting in the area to a blue rubber boat in distress with approximately 40 persons on board. It is unclear whether this is one of the distress cases that Alarm Phone has been alerting to today. 

 

___ Western Med/Atlantic Route 

 

The Spanish Coast Guard reportedly rescued 104 people from 3 boats south of Gran Canaria today. 6 of them were reportedly referred to a hospital. 

The Spanish military has reportedly started installing tents at an unused military base in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, to host up to 800 people who arrived on the island via the Atlantic Ocean. Abandoned barracks on Tenerife and Fuerteventura will reportedly also be used to shelter people who arrive by boat. 

According to Anadolu Agency, Senegalese authorities have intercepted more than 1500 people on 6 boats who tried to reach Europe. It is unclear when these operations took place. 29 people were reportedly arrested on smuggling charges. 
 

Libya 

 

A 15-year-old Eritrean boy was killed by gunshot when armed men entered a shelter in Tripoli and started shooting in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The boy was a registered asylum seeker with the UNHCR awaiting resettlement to a third country to have his asylum claim processed, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Libya confirmed. 

A “breakthrough” at the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum was announced in Tunis today. The participants of the meeting have reportedly reached a preliminary agreement on a “roadmap” to parliamentary and presidential elections that are to take place within 18 months. According to the Acting Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Libya, Stephanie Williams, the roadmap also includes steps to unite institutions. 

Reuters: Libya talks reach election breakthrough, U.N. says 
 

Press Review 

 

European Ombudsman: Ombudsman opens inquiry to assess European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) ‘Complaints Mechanism’ 

 La Repubblica: Il mare dell’umanità [The sea of humanity] 

VitaLe Ong e la politica senza bussola [NGOs and politics without a compass] 

11/10-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

___ Central Med 

 

The crew of Spanish NGO Proactiva-Open Arms rescued 88 people from a partially deflated rubber boat last night. According to Open Arms, the survivors are in precarious health. Today, the crew conducted a critical rescue: approximately 100 people, among them children, were in the water after the hull of the rubber boat they were travelling on broke and the dinghy sank. Open Arms reports that 5 casualties were recovered. The exact number of survivors is not yet known. 

El PeriódicoOpen Arms informa de al menos cinco migrantes muertos y unos cien salvados en un naufragio en el Mediterráneo [Open Arms reports at least five migrants killed and about a hundred rescued in a shipwreck in the Mediterranean] 

At least 13 people died in a shipwreck off Zuwara last night, AP reports. At least three women and one child are reportedly among the casualties. According to the IOM, approximately 11 people were rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard and returned to Libyan shores. 

16 people reached Lampedusa autonomously from Tunisia today. 100 people were reportedly transferred from the Lampedusa hotspot to Porto Empedocle, from where they will be distributed to other reception centres. According to Sky Tg24, 730 people remain in the hotspot in Lampedusa. 

36 people of sub-Saharan origin, among them a pregnant woman and five children, were reportedly rescued by the Tunisian Coast Guard off Mahdia today. According to the Tunisian authorities, their boat was damaged before the rescue. 

 

___ Eastern Med 

 

A fire has erupted at Vathy camp on the Greek island of Samos today, the International Rescue Committee reported. So far, there are no reported deaths. 

117 asylum seekers were reportedly relocated from Greece to Germany today. 

Approximately 30 people were allegedly pushed back by the Hellenic Coast Guard after they had already reached Lesbos. 

 

___ Western Med/Atlantic 

 

AP reports on rising tensions at the makeshift tent camp at Arguineguín pier, Gran Canaria. Nearly 2000 people who recently reached the island via the Atlantic are held at the structure, which was designed to shelter 400 people. The mayor of Mogán, the municipality that Arguineguín belongs to, has called on the central government to help relieve the “humanitarian drama”. Human Rights Watch has also urged the Spanish government to “alleviate” the conditions of people stuck on the pier. According to europapress, the NGO denounces the lack of respect for the dignity and the basic rights of people stranded in the port. 

According to Alarm Phone, 480 people have lost their lives off the coast of Senegal while trying to reach Europe since October 24. A social media campaign has been launched to call for national mourning. 

InfoMigrantsInquiétude au Sénégal après la multiplication des drames touchant les migrants 

 

Libya 

 

In their Monthly Update, IOM Libya reports “increased violence, abuse and excessive use of force against migrants” in some coastal cities and detention centres in early October. Two migrants were reportedly killed and two others were wounded by gunshots when protesting their arrest near Sabratha early last month. 

Hanan al-Barassi, a prominent Libyan lawyer, defender of women’s rights and vocal critic of corruption and abuses among Eastern Libyan armed groups, was assassinated in Benghazi yesterday. The day before her death, al-Barassi had announced that she was going to publish a video exposing the corruption of Saddam Haftar, son of self-styled General of the Libyan National Army Khalifa Haftar. 

Le MondeHanane Al-Barassi, avocate et défenseuse des droits des femmes, abattue en pleine rue en Libye 

The GuardianGunmen shoot dead female Libyan dissident in busy Benghazi street 

 

Press review 

 

Tagesschau.deEU erhöht Druck auf Frontex-Chef [EU increases pressure on Frontex boss] 

El PaísLos fallos de la asistencia jurídica a los migrantes en Canarias o el caso del albino que nadie vio [The failures of legal assistance to migrants in the Canaries or the case of the albino who nobody saw] 

EFECEAR denuncia la indefensión jurídica de los inmigrantes que llegan a Canarias [CEAR denounces the legal defencelessness of immigrants arriving in the Canary Islands] 

UN NewsICC Prosecutor calls for Libya ceasefire progress, decries ‘powerful forces’ hampering global justice 

France24Sicily's fishermen brave weather, seas and threat of Libyan jail 

10/10-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

___ Central Med 

 

Alarm Phone published distress alerts of 3 boats carrying a total of approximately 210 people in the Central Mediterranean today. 

Almost 160 people were rescued by the Guardia di Finanza and the Lampedusa Harbour Master off Lampedusa this morning. 306 people were transferred to the Suprema quarantine ship yesterday. There are now 762 people on board the ferry, 81 of them tested positive for COVID-19. The ship is set to depart for Augusta today. The GNV Azzurra is to arrive in Lampedusa today to take more people on board for quarantining and to further empty the overcrowded Lampedusa hotspot.  

AdnKronosLampedusa, gli sbarchi non si fermano: 150 sull'isola 

In response to the deadly attack in Nice last month, perpetrated by a Tunisian national who reached Europe via Lampedusa, the mayor of Lampedusa has announced enhanced identification procedures for people arriving to the island. New devices and additional security personnel are reportedly intended to increase controlling capacity. 

InfoMigrantsTighter controls for migrants implemented in Lampedusa 

 

___ Eastern Med 

 

The father of the 6-year-old boy who died in a shipwreck off Samos, Greece, on Sunday was arrested by Greek authorities on suspicion of endangering a life. A 23-year-old travelling on the same boat was arrested on suspicion of human smuggling. 

Washington PostGreek authorities arrest father of dead migrant child 

The Management Board of the EU’s border agency Frontex held an extraordinary meeting today. According to Ylva Johansson, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, the EU Commission has asked the Frontex Executive Director to reply to questions ahead of the next scheduled board meeting, which will take place at the end of November. Yesterday, Human Rights Watch had called on the agency’s board to set up “an independent, prompt, effective, transparent, and impartial investigation” into allegations of Frontex’ involvement in unlawful pushbacks of asylum seekers in the Eastern Med. 

Eight rights organisations, among them Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Save the Children and more, have issued a joint statement on the European Commission’s proposal of establishing an independent monitoring mechanism. The mechanism was proposed as part of the Pact of Migration and Asylum. The organisations call for an extension of the mechanism, which has the potential to address rights violations at Europe’s borders. 

Joint statementTurning rhetoric into reality: New monitoring mechanism at European borders should ensure fundamental rights and accountability 

 

___ Western Med 

 

Two boats carrying a total of 13 people were rescued by the Guardia Civil off the coast of Granada, Spain, EFE reports. 

 

Libya 

 

The Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) was launched in Tunis, Tunisia, yesterday. After a peace agreement between senior military and political leaders from both sides to the Libyan civil war was reached in Geneva last month, the aim of the political talks involving 75 participants is to hold national elections to achieve political legitimacy. 

UN NewsFollowing peace deal, talks on Libya's political future begin 

According to activist Andrea Gagne, the Zintan detention center in Libya is being dismantled today. Those arbitrarily detained in Zintan are reportedly to be transferred to Tripoli. It is uncertain what will happen to them there. 

A group of migrants was deported from Libya to Sudan without due process in violation of human rights, according to journalist Sara Creta

 

Press Review 

 

El DiarioInterior reactiva las expulsiones desde Canarias y deporta a 22 migrantes a Mauritania [Ministry of the Interior reactivates expulsions from the Canary Islands and deports 22 migrants to Mauritania] 

The GuardianCanary Islands appeal for help as 2,200 migrants arrive over weekend 

Evangelisch.deNach Kritik an Seenotrettung verlässt Pfarrer seine Gemeinde [Pastor leaves his parish after criticism of sea rescue] 

Welt„Ein Christ kann ertrinken lassen“ – Pfarrer verlässt Gemeinde 

9/11-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

A 6-year-old child died in a shipwreck off Samos, Greece on Sunday. According to survivors, six people might be missing at sea.  

Greek City Times: Migrant child killed in shipwreck near Samos 

InfoMigrantsChild drowns as migrant boat runs into trouble off Samos 

According to the IOM, 3 bodies were retrieved off the Libyan coast today. 958 people were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya between November 3 and 9. 

The Libyan Coast Guard intercepted 119 people, among them women and children, and returned them to Libya on Saturday night, the IOM reports. 

1005 people are currently housed at the Lampedusa hotspot, which has a maximum capacity of 192. Last night, 216 people were transferred to the quarantine ferry Rhapsody, which now holds 650 people, according to Grandangolo newspaper. Another quarantine ship, the Suprema, is standing by to take more people on board to undergo a 14-day quarantine. On Sunday, 70 minors were reportedly transferred to Porto Empedocle onboard the regular ferry. 

Open Arms, rescue ship of the NGO Proactiva-Open Arms was engaged in a search for a potential boat in distress today. The crew found a backpack and an empty wooden boat. 

The Tunisian Coast Guard intercepted 28 people off Kerkennah on Saturday, L’Orient Le Jour/AFP reports. 

In an interview on Italian television broadcast live last night, Italian Minister of the Interior Luciana Lamorgese has reiterated the claim that NGO vessels that are in administrative detention were not compliant with safety standards. Lamorgese insisted that the Italian government had “no preconceptions” about NGO ships in general, so long as they adhere to the rules. 

DomaniMigranti, Lamorgese contro le Ong: «Le navi fermate erano pericolose» 

 

___ Canary Route 

 

More than 2000 people reached the Canary Islands on some 40 boats over the weekend, more than 1400 on Saturday alone. One deceased person was reportedly found on a boat with approximately 160 other people on board, many of whom suffered of dehydration. Following this record number of arrivals in one weekend, the President of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, has urged the Spanish central government to react and support the islands in the reception of the arrivals. Torres also appealed to the solidarity of the European Union. Commissioner of Home Affairs Ylva Johansson had visited Gran Canaria last Friday. The situation is particularly dire at the Arguineguín dock on Gran Canaria, where hundreds of people were sleeping outside even before this weekend’s arrivals. 

RFIEspagne: près de 2000 arrivées de migrants dans les Canaries en un week-end 

PúblicoCasi 1.700 migrantes, uno fallecido, han llegado este sábado a Canarias 

20 MinutosCanarias urge al Estado a reaccionar ante la llegada récord de inmigrantes 

 
A Moroccan man was found guilty of two counts of involuntary manslaughter after a woman and a little girl died during a crossing that he organised from Morocco to the Canary Islands in May last year. A court on the island of Gran Canaria sentenced the man to eight years in prison and to pay more than 160.000€ in compensation. A second woman is believed to have died during the crossing, but her body was never found. 

The Guardian: Captain in fatal migrant boat journey to Canary Islands jailed for eight years 

 

___ English Channel 

 

Five people were rescued from a boat in distress in the English Channel off Sangatte, France, on Saturday morning. Three of them had to be treated for hypothermia. 

France 3: Traversées de la Manche : cinq migrants, dont trois en hypothermie, secourus au large de Sangatte 

 

 
Libya 

 

According to the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), five more mass graves were discovered and 17 bodies recovered in the Western Libyan town of Tarhouna over the weekend. A total of 112 corpses have been exhumed from mass graves in Libya since January. According to the Minister of the Interior, one of the bodies was former general and director of information Mabrouk Khalaf. 

Al JazeeraSeventeen bodies found in new Libya mass graves 

Le FigaroLibye: 17 corps découverts dans de nouveaux charniers 

 

Press Review 

 

The New Humanitarian: Italy’s use of ferries to quarantine migrants comes under fire 

InfoMigrants: Canaries : plus de 1 600 arrivées durant le week-end, Bruxelles plaide pour des renvois [Canary Islands: more than 1,600 arrivals during the weekend, Brussels pleads for deportations] 

Mediterraneo CronacaMigrazioni, il piano sulla Tunisia anti-terrorismo che sembra anti-migrazioni [The anti-terrorism plan on Tunisia that sounds like an anti-migration plan] 

6/11-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  

 

A boat with 16 persons was intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard and returned to Libya todayThe Libyan Coast Guard had intercepted two other boats in distress with nearly 300 people onboard on Wednesday. The survivors were forcibly returned to Tripoli, UNHCR Libya reported late yesterday evening. Nearly 1,000 persons attempted to cross in the last 5 days only, according to UNHCR accounts.  

At least 119 people, mostly from Tunisia and Sub-Saharan countries, arrived in Lampedusa in the last 24 hours onboard four boats. At least two of them had departed from Tunisia. In the end of afternoon, a total of 29 people landed onboard two boats, following two previous arrivals in the beginning of afternoon, with a total of 90 survivors 

Agrigento Notizie: Il via vai è continuo: altri 4 sbarchi a Lampedusa, in 1.274 in hotspot 

 The European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, is in Gran Canaria, Spain, today to address “migration management cooperation” matters. She stated on her Twitter account that "Migration management is a responsibility of EU as a whole”.  Her full press conference can be watched on the European Commission website.  

Yesterday, Yvla Johansson had told the French Senate that Member States should return migrants with no right to stay in the EU to their countries of origin more quickly in order to avoid fuelling a rise in "populism". The same day, French President Emmanuel Macron announced a doubling of the Security Forces guarding France’s national borders and called for a deep reform of Europe’s management of its external frontiers to strengthen the fight against illegal immigration and terrorism, on a visit to the border crossing point between Spain and France at Le Perthus, East of the Pyrenees. 

Financial Times: France to double border security forces to combat terrorism 

InfomigrantsL'union européenne veut augmenter les renvois d'étrangers en situation irrégulière [The European Union wants to increase the return of illegal migrants] 

Today, according to La Repubblica, Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese announced a project of Italian-French “brigades for border control” and called for European involvement, following a meeting with her French counterpart Gérald Darmanin. This project “should provide for close collaboration with the Tunisian authorities”, with the positioning of European naval or air assets that can warn the Tunisian authorities of any departures and allow for their swift interventions in Tunisian territorial waters.  

From today until SundayGérald Darmanin embarked on a diplomatic tour to discuss “immigration and security issues” with his Italian, Tunisian, Maltese and Algerian counterparts. 
La Repubblica: Migranti, il piano di Lamorgese: "Aerei e navi per segnalare partenze dalla Tunisia" [Migrants, Lamorgese's plan: "Planes and ships to report departures from Tunisia"] 

RFI: En Italie, Gérald Darmanin aborde la question du terrorisme et du contrôle aux frontières [In Italy, Gérald Darmanin addresses the issue of terrorism and border control.] 

Le Figaro: Darmanin à Rome, Tunis et Alger pour renforcer les coopérations [Darmanin in Rome, Tunis and Algiers to strengthen cooperation] 

 

Press Review  

 

IOM: Dozens Feared Dead as Vessel Carrying Civilians Fleeing Insecurity in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, Sinks 

IOM: Growing Humanitarian Needs Among Migrants Rescued off Mauritanian Coast 

Le Monde: La majorité confrontée au retour du dossier miné de l’immigration [The majority confronted with the return of the undermined immigration file] 

Le Monde: Frontex sous pression après des accusations de refoulement de migrants aux portes de la Grèce [Frontex under pressure after accusations of refoulement of migrants at the gates of Greece] 

InfomigrantsFour migrants die trying to reach Spanish enclave in Africa 
 
North Africa Post: Italy deports 48 Tunisian illegal migrants 

5/11-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  


Central Mediterranean 

The Open Arms left the port of Barcelona yesterday evening and is now heading towards the Central MediterraneanThe Catalan photojournalist Sergi Camara, is onboard. He published a first piece announcing the departure in Nacio Digital today 

Nacio Digital: L'Open Arms salpa de Barcelona per salvar vides al Mediterrani [The Open Arms sails from Barcelona to save lives in the Mediterranean]  

Late last night, Alarm Phone alerted to a boat in distress with approximately 81 people onboard. They reportedly departed from Libya. As of now, their fate is unknown.  

Italy 

In over 12 hours, between yesterday evening and this morning, at least 177 people arrived in Lampedusa by boat. A boat with 71 people arrived yesterday eveningfollowed by two other autonomous landings of 89 and 17 people during the night. Transfers of some survivors onboard the quarantine-ship Allegra was reported this morning, the number of people concerned is not yet specified. The Rhapsody was also expected to arrive in Lampedusa this morning.  

Adnkronos: Migranti, nuova ondata a Lampedusa: 177 in poco più di 12 ore [Migrants, new wave in Lampedusa: 177 in just over 12 hours] 
Agrigento NotizieMigranti a Lampedusa, in corso l'imbarco sulla nave quarantena "Allegra"[Migrants in Lampedusa, boarding on the "Allegra" quarantine ship 

The Italian National Committee for Public Order and Security together with Italian police and intelligence services announced their decision to tighten border control of the country, including with the use of the army. The decision was made last Tuesday, November 3, during a meeting aimed to draw up an operating plan to share more effective countering of human trafficking organizations with Tunisia” 

InfomigrantsItalian government to step up border control 

Malta 

Fifty persons who were returned to Libya by the Libyan fishing vessel Das As-Salam last April, and two siblings of people who died at sea, have filed constitutional proceedings against Malta’s government, contesting what they consider as a delayed rescue and pushback coordinated by Maltese Armed Forces. 50 of the plaintiffs were onboard boat in distress who was spotted by Frontex in the Maltese search and rescue zone three days before the Maltese authorities assigned the fishing boat "Dar As-Salam" to their rescue. By that time, several people had died, according to the Maltese civil rights organization Repubblika supporting the legal actionThe survivors were forcibly returned to Libya. The procedure claims various breaches of human rights, including the right to life, inhuman and degrading treatment, collective expulsion, as well as the right to seek asylum.  

Times of Malta: Migrants claim breach of rights, demand damages after Libya pushback 

Malta Today: 52 asylum seekers take government to court over delayed rescue and pushback 

InfomigrantsMaltese government in court over alleged rights abuses against migrants 

 
Spain 
According to the Human Rights Association of Andalusia (Pro Derechos Humanos), 800 people have died in their migration journey to Spain and nearly 300 are missing.  

 

Press review  


Italy 
Redattore Sociale: Migranti, la denuncia: “I grandi centri hanno favorito il contagio da coronavirus” [Migrants, the complaint: "The large centers have favored the coronavirus contagion"] 


Spain 

Alfa & Omega: El hombre que miraba una botella de agua [The man who looked at a bottle of water] 

La VanguardiaUn balón lleno de sueños en patera [ball full of dreams in a paddle] 

El PaisInterior reactiva las deportaciones a Mauritania desde Canarias [Interior reactivates deportations to Mauritania from the Canary Islands] 

Libya 

Anadolu Agency: 2 more mass graves found in Libya's Tarhouna 

Web Wire: UNICEF and WHO sound the alarm over 250 000 children at risk of vaccine-preventable diseases in Libya 
Mixed Migration Center: Report: Sharper Lens on Vulnerability (North Africa) statistical analysis of the determinants of vulnerability to protection incidents among refugees and migrants on the move in North Africa 

 
Europe & Mediterranean 

Deutsche Welle: More migrants try to cross the Mediterranean from Lebanon 

Al Jazeera: Macron calls for tighter EU border controls after attacks 

4/11-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  


Nearly 1,000 migrants have been intercepted and returned to Libya in the past three days, IOM spokesperson Safa Msehli reported

Twenty-seven boats with at least 460 people onboard in total arrived in Lampedusa in the last 48 hours, mostly coming from Tunisia and LibyaA tragic shipwreck was narrowly avoided with a rubber boat on which there were a hundred peopleLa Stampa reports that the rubber dinghy hit a rock in an attempt to get closer to Cala Pisana, Lampedusa. A sponson was torn apart and the boat nearly sank. During the rescue performed, “mostly from land”, by the Guardia di Finanzatwo soldiers were injured and have been treated in hospital.  

La Stampa: Ventisette imbarcazioni di migranti arrivate nelle ultime 48 ore [Twenty-seven migrant boats arrived in the last 48 hours] 

ANSA MED: Gommone sta per affondare, migranti salvati da Gdf  [Rubber boat is about to sink, migrants rescued by Gdf] 

Infomigrants: Lampedusa hotspot near collapse as hundreds of migrants arrive in less than a day 

Marc Reig and Annabel Montes Mier, respectively commander and mission leader of Open Arms, were cleared of the accusations of aiding and abetting illegal immigration and private violence. Following preliminary hearing today, the Court of Ragusa decided not to proceed with the investigation, considering that "the fact does not exist for the crime of private violence" and that the crime of aiding and abetting illegal immigration is not punishable due to "a state of necessity”. The two members of Open Arms were being prosecuted following a rescue operation conducted in March 2018. Open Arms had refused to comply with an indication to allow the Libyan Coast Guard, which had assumed the coordination of operation, to finish the rescue”, arguing that Libya is not a Place of Safety.    

Il Post: Il tribunale di Ragusa ha deciso il “non luogo a procedere” per comandante e capo missione di Open Arms, accusati di favoreggiamento dell’immigrazione clandestina e violenza privata [The court of Ragusa has decided the "no place to proceed" for commander and head of mission of Open Arms, accused of aiding and abetting illegal immigration and private violence] 

A vessel with 72 people onboard was rescued this morning south of Tenerife, Spain. Among them, one deceased person and three others in serious medical conditions presenting symptoms of hypothermia and hypoglycemiaAccording to testimonies collected by the Red Cross, they had been at sea for ten days, after departing from Senegal; among the occupants, there could be ten possible minors.  

El Diario: Un fallecido y tres personas graves en un cayuco rescatado en Tenerife [One deceased and three serious people in a canoe rescued in Tenerife]  

The Government of Senegal stated on Friday that the information disclosed about the recent sinking of a canoe that caused the death of 140 peopleconfirmed by IOM, is "unfounded" and that only lifeless bodies” were recovered. 

Publico: El Gobierno de Senegal desmiente que 140 personas murieran en el reciente hundimiento de un cayuco [The Government of Senegal denies that 140 people died in the recent sinking of a canoe] 


Press review  

 
Corriere: Di Maio: «Fermiamo gli sbarchi, è un problema di sicurezza nazionale» [Di Maio: "Let's stop the landings, it's a national security problem"] 

Libya Observer: Unidentified assailants ransack Bani Walid Hospital 

Middle East Monitor: Libya rivals agree on roadmap towards implementing ceasefire 

Infomigrants: Libya: Nearly 1,000 migrants intercepted at sea and returned to Libya in 3 days 

 Econostrum: Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights Press release: Fight against terrorism does not mean violation of migrants' rights 

3/11-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  


 

This afternoon, Alarm Phone alerted to a drifting boat in distress, reportedly lost at sea for two days now, with approximately 20 people onboard. At the time of alert, the boat appeared to be international waters off the coast of Tunisia according to the map Alarm Phone publishedThis morning, the NGO also alerted to 5 boats in distress off the coast of Lampedusa, with a total of nearly 360 people onboard. They had already published alerts for 3 of these 5 boats yesterday.  


According to a member of the Tunisian Parliament, the Tunisian Coast Guard rescued a boat with 31 people onboard. The survivors, from “different nationalities”, had departed from Libya.  


132 people were intercepted early this morning and returned to Tripoli, UNHCR Libya reported. According to IOM Libya’s latest maritime update, 10,398 people were intercepted and returned to Libya since the beginning of the year.  


Today, at least 727 people arrived in Lampedusa onboard 13 boats, including a deceased person. As of this evening, it is not known whether the deceased was onboard one of the boats or in the sea. Some boats were rescued by the patrol boats of the Italian Coast Guard and the Guardia di Finanza while others arrived autonomously. All were taken to the Imbriacola district hotspot, hosting nearly 1,200 peopleThe Prefecture of Agrigento plans to transfer 500 people, as many as there are places available, on the quarantine-ship AllegraIn between Sunday and today, 135 people arrived in the Southern coasts of Sardinia, aboard boats that mostly departed from Algeria according to the Firenze Post. 

 

ANSA: Migranti: sbarchi in serie a Lampedusa, hotspot al collasso [Migrants: mass landings in Lampedusa, hotspot collapsing] 

Mediterraneo Cronaca: Benvenuti a Lampedusa, tra l’ondata di migranti anche un cadavere [Welcome to Lampedusa, among the wave of migrants also a corpse] 
 

FirenzePostMigranti: altri sbarchi a lampedusa e in sardegna. rispettivamente 727 e 135. hotspot al collasso [Migrants: other landings in lampedusa and sardinia. 727 and 135 respectively. hotspot collapsing] 
 

About 12,000 people have reached the Canary Islands so far this year. In few hours between yesterday afternoon and evening, nearly 350 arrived, including a deceased person, onboard four boats which were rescued by Maritime Rescue and the Civil Guard, according to the Emergency and Security Coordination Center

El diarioUn total de 352 migrantes llegan en cayuco a Canarias en las últimas horas [A total of 352 migrants arrive in the Canary Islands by boat in the last hours] 

 

Press review  


InfomigrantsLibye : 550 migrants interceptés en mer par les garde-côtes libyens en 48 heures [Libya: 550 migrants intercepted at sea by the Libyan coastguard in 48 hours] 
El Mundo: El grito que sale de los grandes cayucos: "O Barça o muerte" [The cry that comes out of the great canoes: "Barça or death"] 

 El Periodico15 días en alta mar y 16 compañeros por la borda: la odisea de un joven para sobrevivir en una patera [15 days at sea and 16 companions overboard: the odyssey of a young man to survive in a boat] 

El Pais: Boat arrivals in Spain’s Canary Islands spark rise in anti-migrant rhetoric 

The New York Times: Hundreds Die at Sea Off Senegal’s Coast on a Perilous Route to Europe 
InfomigrantsNGOs criticize situation in migrant camps on Lesbos and Samos 

2/11-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  


Between yesterday and today, at least 550 people were intercepted and forcibly returned to Libya by the Coast Guard as reported by IOM Libya180 today and more than 370 yesterday.  

Nearly 600 people onboard 12 or 13 boats (figures vary according to Italian media outlets) landed in Lampedusa yesterday. Some of these boats had departed from Libyamost of them had left from the Tunisian coast, with some people of sub-Saharan nationalities onboard, as reported by Mediterraneo CronacaAccording to this Italian media, these events are a “further proof that an irregular migration channel has opened in Tunisia for refugees. According to ANSA, 129 survivors were transferred onboard the Italian quarantine-ship SupremaThis weekend, 49 people also landed in Sardinia, mostly AlgeriansCagliaripad reports. 

Mediterraneo CronacaMigrazioni, a Lampedusa 13 sbarchi in 24 ore tra Tunisia e Libia [Migrations, in Lampedusa 13 landings in 24 hours between Tunisia and Libya] 
ANSA: Migranti: 12 sbarchi e 129 imbarcati su nave quarantena [Migrants: 12 landings and 129 embarked on quarantine ship] 

Cagliaripad: Migrantiserie di sbarchi nel sud Sardegna, arrivati in 49 [Migrants: series of landings in southern Sardinia, arriving in 49] 

This weekend, 9 people self-mutilated onboard the quarantine-ship Rhapsody, reported Sergio Scandura and an italian local media. They ingested razor blades and shards of glass. According to preliminary information, among the injured, some were also wounded with a knife. They were evacuated to Palermo’s hospitals.  

FanpagePalermo, 9 migrants on a quarantine ship swallow razor blades and glass shards 

The German NGO filed a criminal complaint against AfD politician Georg Pazderski who is said to have indicated on Facebook that the sea rescuers were jointly responsible for the knife attack in Nice 

 

Press review  


Al Jazeera: Libya’s warring sides meet for face-to-face talks 

InfomigrantsNice church attacker: A journey from Tunisia to Italy to France 

Newsbook: 5,000 migrants in 8 months stopped from attempting to flee Libya – Bartolo 

Europapress: Interceptan un cayuco con unas 80 personas al sur de Tenerife [Interception of a cayuco with about 80 people in the south of Tenerife] 

30/10-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean and beyond 

 

Approximately 50 people died in Mauritanian territorial waters while trying to reach the Canary Islands. 24 survivors were rescued from the boat by the Mauritanian gendarmerie and taken to Nouadhibou yesterday. 18 of them have to receive medical attention. The survivors report that the boat left Senegal two weeks ago. When the boat’s engine failed and the boat drifted for days, dozens reportedly died from dehydration and heat strokes or fell into the water. 

El País: Unos 50 inmigrantes mueren en aguas de Mauritania tras quedar su cayuco a la deriva 

Several autonomous landings and rescues off the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands and the South of Spain were reported overnight and in the course of the day. Two boats carrying a total of 28 people autonomously arrived to the Alicante region according to europapress. Also according to europapress, the Guardia Civil located up to 13 boats off the Balearic Islands of Mallorca, Cabrera, Ibiza and Formentera today, arresting a total of 201 people. 

A strong earthquake of a magnitude of at least 6.6 hit the Aegean Sea today. A final number of casualties is not yet known, reports say at least 12 people were killed and more than 200 injured. Several buildings reportedly collapsed in the Turkish city of Izmir. The earthquake was also felt on the Greek island of Samos, where it caused a tsunami that flooded the streets. There are no reports of fatalities on Samos as of yet, but the risk of further Tsunamis remains high. 

Deutsche Welle: Turkey and Greece hit by severe earthquake 

CNNPowerful earthquake jolts Turkey and Greece, killing at least six 

 

Press Review 

 
Deutsche Welle: Libya faces uphill battle for truth and reconciliation 

Human Rights Watch: Justice Key to Durable Peace in Libya 

Deutsche Welle: The French-Turkish spat that could 'widen the civilizational divide' 

EkathimeriniNGO condemns evacuation of refugees from Lesvos’ PIKPA camp 

InfoMigrantsPrès de 200 morts en une semaine au large des côtes ouest-africaines [Close to 200 dead within a week off the coasts of West Africa] 

29/10-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  


 

The death toll is rising following the shipwreck of boat with around 200 people, off the Senegalese coast (see the Context Update of October 26). At least 140 people are reported to have drowned. It is the deadliest shipwreck recorded in 2020” according to the IOM. According to media sources reported by IOM, the Senegalese and Spanish navies, and fishermen who were nearbyrescued 59 people and retrieved the bodies of 20 others.   

IOM: Deadliest Shipwreck of the Year Claims at Least 140 Lives 

Over 100 people, who attempted to flee Turkey onboard several boats via the Aegen Sea, were returned by Turkish Coast Guard, Turkish Security sources told the Turkish press agency Anadolu yesterday. They have been reportedly pushed back to Turkish waters by Greek coast guard, according to these sourcesAmong these people were Syrians, Afghans and 19 Turkish citizens.   
Anadolu Agency: Turkey rescues over 100 asylum seekers in Aegean Sea 

 Following media reports on Frontex’ complicity in illegal pushbacks in the Aegean (see Context Update of October 27), the European Commission has called for an “urgent extraordinary” board meeting of Frontex on November 10. 

Politico: Commission calls for Frontex meeting over migrant pushback reports 

 A knife attack killing three and wounding several other people has been perpetrated in a church in Nice, France, this morning. The author has been arrested. An investigation is on-going. International media such as AFP and Rai News report that the attacker may be Tunisian man who arrived in Lampedusa by boat in the end of September or beginning of October. If the ID documents found with him are verified, this person would have reportedly been put in quarantine before being subject to an obligation to leave the Italian territory. Several high-profile anti-immigration French and Italian politicians, among whom MeP Eric Ciotti and Matteo Salvinicalled for the suspension of all migratory flows and asylum procedures or the closure of ports. 

Le Monde: Suivez le Live Attentat de Nice : « C’est la France qui est attaquée », déclare Emmanuel Macron, qui renforcera l’opération « Sentinelle » [Follow the event live: "It is France that is under attack ", declares Emmanuel Macron, who will reinforce the operation " Sentinel "] 

The Guardian: Knife attacker in Nice kills three people 

Corriere: Attentato a Nizza, il killer era in Italia il 9 ottobre. Dopo lo sbarco a Lampedusa portato a Bari e identificato [Attacked in Nice, the killer was in Italy on 9 OctoberAfter the landing in Lampedusa, he was brought to Bari and identified] 

 

In Libya  


A dozen bodies have been unearthed in newly found mass graves in the Tarhuna region of western Libya. A committee official, Tawfiq, told AFP journalists a total of 98 bodies had now been found since searches of mass graves were launched after the withdrawal of Haftar’s forces from western Libya in June.  

Al Jazeera: A dozen bodies found in new Libya mass graves: Committee 

A memorandum of understanding was signed between Libya and Malta on cooperation in the field of aviation and maritime transport reported the Libyan Airports Authority yesterday. 

Libya Herald: Libya and Malta sign transport MoU allowing for Medavia flight resumption and Maltese registration of Libyan carrier 
 
 

Press review 

 

The Guardian: EU accused of abandoning migrants to the sea with shift to drone surveillance 

Infomigrants: L'inquiétant exode de la jeunesse sénégalaise vers les îles Canaries [The worrying exodus of Senegalese youth to the Canary Islands] 

Infomigrants: Will Spain's Canaries turn into a second Lesbos amid surge in migration? 

MSF: “The survivors share the memory of the big wave that threw them into the water” 

The Guardian: Almost 300 asylum seekers have died trying to cross the Channel since 1999 

28/10-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

Following the shipwreck in the English Channel mentioned in yesterday’s Context Update, the death toll has risen to four, among them two children. French authorities believe that one more person might be missing at sea, possibly another child. The search for survivors did not resume this morning. 

The Guardian: Four dead including two children after migrant boat sinks in Channel 

BBC: Channel migrants: Deaths should be 'a wake-up call' for those in power 

According to the Libya Observer, the Libyan Coast Guard recovered five people and three bodies from a wrecked boat off the Libyan coast on Sunday. It is as of yet unclear whether this was the incident reported by IOM spokesperson Safa Msehli or a separate event. 

Libya Observer: Libyan Coast Guard rescues five migrants from wrecked boat 

Two men of Tunisian nationality were arrested on a so-called “mothership” in Italian national waters off Lampedusa. It is reported that 15 people were to embark from the vessel onto smaller crafts to reach Italian shores. The men were arrested by the Guardia di Finanza on charges of aiding and abetting illegal immigration. 

Sky TG24: Migranti, nave madre bloccata al largo di Lampedusa: due arresti [Migrants, mother ship blocked off Lampedusa: two arrests] 

NGO Mediterranea Saving Humans announced today that two of their crew members were denied embarkation on the Mare Jonio by port authorities in Augusta, Sicily, two days ago. It is the third of such instances for the organisation. While the NGO is planning to legally challenge these decisions, the Mare Jonio has left Augusta to go into dry dock for maintenance. 

Mediterranea: The Italian government blocks Mare Jonio’s activities once again. Mediterranea Saving Humans: “But they won’t stop us”  

 

Press Review 

 

SOS MEDITERRANEE: [Eyes on the Central Med #5] Deadly sea crossings: the list of shipwrecks in the Central Med gets longer while rescuers cannot help 

Deutsche WelleMigration: Das Menschenrechts-Dilemma der EU [Migration: The EU’s human rights dilemma] 

Le Monde: Les migrants algériens affluent sur les côtes espagnoles [Surge of Algerian migrants’ arrivals on the Spanish coast] 

FAKT (Das Erste): Schwerwiegende Vorwürfe gegen Frontex [Serious allegations against Frontex] 

EU ObserverConfusion over Frontex's Greek pushback investigation 

Netzpolitik.org: Italien und Frontex überwachen das Mittelmeer jetzt mit Drohnen [Italy and Frontex now monitor the Mediterranean with drones] 

Lloyd’s listStowaways’ tanker was denied port access by France and Spain 

InfoMigrantsCovid: Migrant arrivals in Italy halved, permits down 58% 

Foreign Policy: The Mediterranean Red Prawn War Signals Italy’s Lost Leverage in Libya 

27/10-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean, Atlantic and English Channel 

 

A boat carrying 87 people that Alarm Phone alerted to yesterday was rescued close to Lampedusa by the Italian Coast Guard late last night, reportedly just before a heavy storm hit the area. They had departed from the western coast of Libya. Earlier in the day, forty people who had departed from Sfax, Tunisia, were rescued close to Lampedusa. A fishing vessel with “migrants” on board was intercepted and seized by the Italian Guardia di Finanza close to Monastir, Tunisia. 

Mediterraneo cronacaMigrazioni, dalla Libia a Lampedusa e poi inizia una tempesta [Migration, from Libya to Lampedusa and then a storm starts] 

113 people were rescued by the Tunisian navy and the Tunisian Coast Guard off Sfax yesterday. 

WebdoTunisie : 113 migrants irréguliers, dont 9 enfants, sauvés au large de Sfax [Tunisia: 113 irregular migrants, including 9 children, rescued off the coast of Sfax] 

Up to three people are feared drowned after a shipwreck in the English Channel today, reportedly including a child. 18 people, reportedly of Iranian nationality, among them children, were rescued in an operation that involved a sailing vessel, an SNSM (French sea rescue) vessel, French navy and customs vessels and a Belgian army helicopter. Three of the 18 rescued people were under cardio-respiratory arrest, two of them children. The other survivors suffered from hypothermia, one of them a severe case. They were referred to hospitals in Calais and Dunkerque. The search for the missing person(s) was ongoing this afternoon. An exact number of victims is yet to be confirmed by the authorities. 

InfoMigrants: Manche : au moins un mort dans un naufrage au large de Dunkerque 
[Channel: at least one dead in a shipwreck off Dunkirk] 

Préfecture maritime de la Manche et de la Mer du Nord: Opération de recherche et sauvetage d’une embarcation de migrants au large de Dunkerque (59), mettant en oeuvre de nombreux moyens aéromaritimes [Search and rescue operation of a migrants' boat off the coast of Dunkirk (59), using a number of aeromaritime resources] 

Evening StandardThree feared dead ‘including child’ after migrant boat capsizes in Channel 

Following media reports on Frontex’ complicity in illegal pushbacks in the Aegean, the European Union’s border and coast guard agency today announced that it has launched an internal inquiry. Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri already stated that no proof has been found to substantiate the reports so far. While EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson took a strong stance against such practices in general in an interview with Tagesschau, a commission spokesperson yesterday said that “the commission is not the hierarchical superior of the agency, the agency is run on its own legal basis”. 

APEU agency launches probe after reports of migrant pushbacks 

EU ObserverFrontex refuses to investigate pushbacks, despite EU demand 

According to journalist EFE, a boat carrying approximately 215 people was found adrift with a broken engine off Nouadhibou, Mauritania, by Spanish fishermen who brought the survivors to Mauritania. 

A boat carrying 39 people heading to the Canary Islands was intercepted off Dakar, Senegal, by the Senegalese Army and the Spanish Guardia Civil today, EFE reports. 

In the trial against former Italian Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini, charged with kidnapping for the 21-day stand-off of the Open Arms in August 2019, a preliminary hearing was set for December 12. Open Arms have announced their presence at the hearing as a civil plaintiff. In the incident in question, the lawyers of Open Arms filed an urgent appeal to the regional tribunal of Lazio when authorities denied their vessel entry into Italian territorial waters even after having declared a state of emergency. The regional tribunal ruled in favour of Open Arms, setting an important precedent suspending the entry ban for rescue ships with survivors on board. 

La RepubblicaSalvini a processo anche per Open Arms, udienza preliminare il 12 dicembre [Salvini at trial also for Open Arms, preliminary hearing on 12 December] 

 

Libya 

 

The UNHCR has announced having facilitated the release of 141 men, women and children from Suq Alkhamees detention centre, east of Tripoli. 

 

Press Review 

 

RFIAprès le naufrage d'une pirogue au large du Sénégal, un rescapé témoigne [After the shipwreck off Senegal, a refugee testifies] 

B2La formation des garde-côtes libyens : aux mains des Turcs ? Mauvais signal pour les Européens [Training of the Libyan Coast Guard in the hands of Turkey? A bad sign for Europeans] 

Levante"La crisis migratoria de Canarias la están afrontando 25 rescatadores" ["The migration crisis in the Canary Islands is being handled by 25 rescuers"] 

Deutschlandfunk„Menschen haben das Recht, einen Antrag auf Asyl zu stellen“ [“Humans have the right to claim asylum”] 

DeutschlandfunkUNO-Flüchtlingshilfe rüstet neues Rettungsschiff „Ghalib Kurdi“ von „Sea-Eye“ aus [UNO Flüchtlingshilfe equips Sea Eye’s new rescue ship "Ghalib Kurdi"] 

26/10-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

At least 11 people drowned in a shipwreck off Libya on Sunday. A pregnant woman is believed to be among the victims. 10 people were rescued by fishermen and returned to Libya. It was the third shipwreck in the Central Mediterranean last week: a boat capsized off Lampedusa last Thursday, with 15 survivors rescued by fishermen and five persons presumed dead, and a shipwreck off the Libyan coast last Monday that claimed at least 15 lives. 

InfoMigrantsSeveral migrants drown off Libyan coast — again 

IOMTwo Mediterranean Shipwrecks Claim at Least 20 Lives 

 According to the IOM, 104 people were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya in the period of 20-26 October. In the same period, 49 people died or went missing in the Central Mediterranean. 4 bodies washed up on Libyan shores before any of the shipwrecks reported in this time frame. 

An unknown number of people from Senegal have died in a shipwreck after the boat’s motor exploded off the Senegalese city of Mbour. According to the testimonies of survivors, up to 200 people might have been on board. 51 people were rescued by the Senegalese army, an unknown number was rescued by fishermen. Some sources speak of more than a hundred missing, but numbers are not confirmed. 

RFISénégal: des migrants meurent noyés après le dessalage de leur pirogue [Senegal: Migrants drown following the sinking of their boat] 

El País: Decenas de jóvenes desaparecidos tras el incendio de un cayuco que iba a Canarias [Dozens of young people disappeared after a fire on a boat on their way to the Canary Islands] 

El DiarioMás de cien desaparecidos tras una explosión en un cayuco que iba de Senegal a Canarias [More than a hundred disappeared after an explosion in a cayuco boat going from Senegal to the Canary Islands] 

Alarm Phone published an alert to a boat in distress carrying approximately 100 people that reportedly departed from Libya. 

According to Sea Watch, the Italian authorities have withdrawn the order grounding the organisation’s airplane Moonbird. Sea Watch announced that Moonbird will resume operations shortly. 

On Friday, 19-year old Omar tried to reach the Spanish enclave Ceuta by swimming from the Morroccan city of Fnideq along with a group of others. While some reached Ceuta, Omar has gone missing. 

El Faro Ceuta: En busca de Omar: una vida perdida en el mar [In search of Omar: a life lost at sea] 

A boat with 167 people on board was localized and escorted to Tenerife by the Spanish Coast Guard, according to europapress. 54 people were rescued off Granada, Spain, after a day of searching by the Spanish Coast Guard, also according to europapress. 8 people were rescued and a dead body retrieved from two kayaks in the Strait of Gibraltar by the Spanish Coast Guard on Sunday. The other occupants of the kayak from which the deceased person was recovered showed signs of hypothermia. At least 1696 people reportedly reached the Canary within the past week. 

Workers’ representatives have denounced the labour conditions of Spanish sea rescuers. The situation especially of rescuers working off the Canary Islands, sometimes in 20-hour shifts, were described as “unsustainable”. 

El DíaTripulantes de Salvamento Marítimo denuncian turnos de 20 horas en los rescates [Sea Rescue crews report 20-hour rescue shifts] 

According to Aegean Boat Report, 197 people were pushed back by the Greek Coast Guard using 7 life rafts last Wednesday. 

 

Libya 

 

According to an announcement made by Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the Libyan Government of National Accord, “migrant centers” under the control of the government in Tripoli through the Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM) should be moved away from coastal cities to inland cities. According to the government, the move aims at better controlling the issue of “illegal migration” by using “patrols in the desert”. 

InfoMigrantsLibya: Tripoli to move migrant centers to country's interior 

The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has launched the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) following the signing of a permanent ceasefire deal. The LPDF is an intra-Libyan political dialogue that was established by the outcomes of the Berlin Conference last January, representing different constituencies on the principles of fair ethnic, political, tribal and social representation. 

ReliefWebLibya ceasefire: UN relaunches inclusive political forum, amid growing ‘sense of hope’ 

 

Press Review 

 

InfoMigrantsAu Sénégal, les pêcheurs et les jeunes frappés par la crise se tournent vers les îles Canaries [Senegalese fishermen and young people hit by the crisis turn to the Canary Islands] 

RFI: Les îles Canaries, nouvelle «prison» pour migrants de l'Europe [The Canary Islands, new “prison” for Europe’s migrants]

CNNBritish forces storm oil tanker after suspected hijack attempt off Isle of Wight 

Le FigaroIncident sur un pétrolier en Angleterre : l'armée arrête sept suspects 

AvvenireMediterraneo nel caos. Silenzi sugli affari sporchi in Libia [Mediterranean in chaos. Silence on dirty business in Libya] 

PoliticoFrom compassion to fortress Europe — the migration crisis in pictures 

23/10-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

Sea Watch has legally challenged the detention of Sea Watch 4 by lodging an appeal with the administrative court in Palermo today. 

MSF: Lives on the line as legal appeal lodged to free the Sea-Watch 4 

A report published, among others, by Der Spiegel today proves that Frontex officials are aware of pushbacks by the Greek Coast Guard and that the agency itself has at times been involved in these illegal practices. 

Der Spiegel: EU Border Agency Frontex Complicit in Greek Refugee Pushback Campaign 

BellingcatFrontex at Fault: European Border Force Complicit in ‘Illegal’ Pushbacks 

281 people were rescued this morning in the waters off the Canary Islands. 61 people were rescued from a boat off Fuerteventura, 25 people reached Gran Canaria autonomously, and 195 people were rescued from a boat off Tenerife. 

El País: Rescatadas otras dos pateras y un cayuco en Canarias con 281 migrantes, entre ellos al menos 19 menores y un bebé [Two other boats and a cayuco boat rescued in the Canary Islands with 281 migrants, including at least 19 minors and one baby] 

According to the Italian Ministry of the Interior and as reported by Italian news agency sir, 26679 people reached Italy by sea this year, 623 of whom arrived this week. 
34 people reportedly reached Marzamemi, Syracuse, autonomously on a sailing boat today. 

 

Libya 

 

Both sides to the conflict in Libya reportedly signed a permanent country-wide cease-fire agreement in Geneva this morning. 5 military representatives of both sides took part in the UN-brokered talks since Monday in preparation of political negotiations about the future of Libya that are to take place in November in Tunisia. While the cease-fire deal is reportedly effective immediately, acting UN envoy for Libya Stephanie Williams urged all parties involved to work as quickly as possible to implement the commitments of the agreement to alleviate the suffering of the Libyan population. 

Associated Press: UN says Libyan sides sign countrywide cease-fire deal 

Tagesschau.de: Waffenstillstand in Libyen beschlossen 

 

Press Review 

 

Avvenire: La Turchia ora controlla le motovedette donate dall'Italia alla Libia [Turkey now controls patrol boats donated by Italy to Libya] 

Tagesschau.deDie Rolle von Frontex bei Zurückweisung von Flüchtlingsbooten [The role of Frontex in pushbacks of refugee boats] 

DomaniI migranti continuano a morire nel mediterraneo, ma il problema sono le ong [Migrants continue to die in the Mediterranean, but the problem is the NGOs] 

El PaísEl Gobierno canario devuelve sus hijos a cinco mujeres que llegaron en patera [The Canary Islands Government returns their children to five women who arrived on boats] 

InfoMigrantsLesbos: A mental health crisis beneath the surface 

22/10-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

Italian fishermen on fishing vessel N.vo Cosimo reportedly rescued 14 persons of Libyan nationality south of Lampedusa today. 5 people are missing at sea, among them a mother and her child. A search operation involving Liberian-flagged container ship Contship Fun, an Armed Forces Malta helicopter and another fishing vessel is ongoing. According to journalist Sergio Scandura, the boat left Zawiya, Libya, on Tuesday night, but ran out of fuel and met worsening weather conditions once it passed the Bouri oil field, some 60 NM off the Libyan coast. 

Mediterraneo cronacaMigrazioni, altri 5 morti. Un solo evento sgretola tutta la politica italo-libica [Migrations, 5 more deaths. One event shatters all Italian-Libyan politics] 

The Louise Michel, rescue vessel funded by artist Banksy, announced today that the ship is unable to leave port for the time being since her registration is being challenged. It is unclear which authorities are challenging the registration of the vessel. 

In October, the administrative court in Hamburg ruled that the introduction of higher security standards for vessels that are used for humanitarian purposes, as imposed by German Minister of Transport Andreas Scheuer, contradicts EU law. Today, the deadline for an appeal to the decision expired, as German NGO Mare Liberum announced. The de facto detention of smaller vessels such as the Mare Liberum and the Josefa should therefore be lifted. 

The Turkish Ministry of Defense has announced that the Turkish armed forces have started training the Libyan Coast Guard. Italian defense sources reportedly stated that Italian support to the Libyan Coast Guard will continue as planned. 

La Repubblica: La Turchia prende il controllo della Guardia costiera libica [Turkey takes control over the Libyan Coast Guard] 

2600 people have reached the Canary Island by boat within the past week, as many as in all of 2019. In the port of Arguineguín, on Gran Canaria, Red Cross tents that were initially set up only for registration at disembarkation and then dismantled, have turned into an ad hoc first reception center hosting more than 1300 people on the pier. 

PúblicoCanarias recibe 2.600 migrantes en una semana, tantos como en todo 2019 [The Canaries receive 2600 migrants in one week, as many as in all of 2019] 
 

Libya 

 

According to IOM and UNHCR sources, 3196 people are being held in 11 detention centers in Libya, ANSA reports. 

InfoMigrantsLibya: 3,200 migrants held in detention centers 

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