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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.

31/7-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

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

AnsaMigranti: nave da 700 posti per quarantena in Sicilia 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Libya 

 

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

Middle East MonitorLibya to impose full lockdown as pandemic cases grow 

 

Press review 

 

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

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

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

30/7-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

Reddattore SocialeNasce ResQ, nuova nave umanitaria italiana 

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

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

 

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

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

AnsaMigranti: Musumeci, Stato agisca o ne va ordine pubblico 

 

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

The LocalDozens of migrants flee second quarantine centre in Sicily 

  

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

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

 

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

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

BBCCoronavirus: Malta says 65 rescued migrants test positive 

 

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

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

 

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

InfoMigrantsItalian interior minister urges Tunisia to act on migration 

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Libya 

 

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

Tagesschau.deDeutsche Fregatte vor Libyen 

 

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

APCharity urges release of 200 migrant children held in Libya 

 

Press Review 

 

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

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

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

ISPIFact Checking: migrazioni (e Covid-19) 

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

MSFMSF forced to close COVID-19 centre on Lesbos 

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

23/7-20

Migrant rescue ship Ocean Viking detained by Italy's coastguard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ANNONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2/7-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

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

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

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

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

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

Yahoo NewsMigrants test positive for coronavirus after arriving in Italy 

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

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

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

Mediterraneo CronacaMigrazioni, a Lampedusa altre 87 persone prima di mezzanotte 

Mediterraneo CronacaMigrazioni, 4 sbarchi a Lampedusa prima di mezzogiorno 

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

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

 

Libya 

 

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

The NationalFrance threatens Turkey with sanctions over Libya intervention 

26/6-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

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

Sea EyeSea Eye successfully frees rescue ship Alan Kurdi 

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

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

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

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

 

Libya 

 

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

Governo ItalianoLibia: Dichiarazione congiunta di Francia, Germania e Italia 

 

Press review 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gulf NewsA dramatic turn of events in Libya 

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

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

25/6-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Libya 

 

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

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

 

Press review 

 

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

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

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

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

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

MediumCOVID-19 Compounds Families’ Painful Search for Missing and Disappeared Migrants 

AvvenireProfughi. Juniò, solo in Libia, ritrova in Italia la mamma e la gemellina di 7 anni [Junio, alone in Libya, found his mother and his 7-year-old twin sister in Italy] 

InfoMigrantsThousands sue Germany for suspending time limit on Dublin deportations 

24/6-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

28 of the 211 people who were transshipped from the Sea Watch 3 to the Moby Zazà tested positive for COVID-19. Sea Watch has issued a Press Release today in reaction to the news, saying the crew rigorously followed health protocols and reiterating that the duty of governments to rescue people and bring them to safety prevails also during a pandemic. 

Mediterraneo cronacaSale a 28 il bilancio dei positivi Covid sulla Moby Zazà. Musumeci rivendica soluzione nave 

36 people were intercepted off Lampione, close to Lampedusa, today. They were disembarked in Lampedusa and transported to the island’s reception centre. Another boat carrying 10 people, departed from Tunisia, reached Lampedusa autonomously. According to Mediterraneo cronaca, more boats were sighted in the Central Mediterranean today. Sea Watch also reported that their airplane Moonbird spotted at least two more distress cases. 

Mediterraneo cronacaSbarco a Lampedusa di 36 persone tunisine, ma il mare è pieno di migranti

Mediterraneo cronaca: Secondo arrivo di migranti nel pomeriggio a Lampedusa

The Italian Five-Star Movement (M5S) and its ruling partner, the Democratic Party (PD), are discussing the timeline for changes to the so-called “security decrees” that were introduced by Salvini during his time as Minister of the Interior. While the PD pushes for a swift reform of the legislation, which might decrease the legal basis for criminalization of SAR NGOs, M5S wants to postpone the discussion to September. 

InfoMigrantsItaly, M5S asks to postpone changes to Salvini migrant decrees 

 

Libya 

 

There are now more than 600 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Libya, according to the Libyan National Centre for Disease Control

 

Press review 

 

Europe 1: Migrants : "L’Ocean-Viking" reprend la mer : "Il y avait urgence" [Interview with Fabienne Lassalle] 

AFP: Sauver des vies en FFP2, casse-tête de l'Ocean Viking [dispatch by Shahzad Abful, PDF attached] 

Afp.comEl ciclo infernal de los rescatistas de migrantes en el Ocean Viking [Yesterday’s AFP dispatch by Shahzad Abdul in Spanish] 

InfoMigrantsItaly: Quarantine rules for NGO-run migrant rescue ships spark controversy 

Euro newsMigrant rescue ships return to the Mediterranean after lockdown

Die Zeit: Wenn die Staaten versagen, müssen die Städte ran [When States fail, it’s up to cities]

23/6-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

According to IOM Libya, 447 people were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya in the week from 16 to 22 June. 

According to Mediterranea Head of Mission Luca Casarini, the Mare Jonio crew sighted a body of a boy adrift on June 19. The NGO only made the incident public yesterday, but reportedly informed the Italian and Maltese authorities at the time. It is unclear as of yet why the body was not recovered. 

Mediterraneo cronacaUn altro cadavere nel Mediterraneo, Mare Jonio lo lascia in mare 

 

Libya 

 

French President Emmanuel Macron has said that France “won’t tolerate” Turkey’s role in Libya. Ankara has recently intensified its intervention in Libya by providing air support, weapons and Syrian fighters in support of the Government of National Accord (GNA). Macron reportedly said that he considered Turkey was playing “a dangerous game in Libya”, contravening its commitments made at the Berlin conference.  

ReutersFrance 'will not tolerate' Turkey's role in Libya, Macron says 

 
The United Nations Human Rights Council yesterday agreed to dispatch a fact-finding mission to investigate violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by all conflict parties in Libya. 

Human Rights WatchLibya: UN Establishes Fact Finding Body 

 

Press review 

 

Euro news: Migrants : l'Ocean Viking reprend la mer [Including AFP footage, interview with Nick, SARCo]

Le PointA bord de l'Ocean Viking, l'éternel retour des traumatisés du sauvetage [AFP dispatch] 

Mediterraneo cronaca: Le Ong ed il nuovo corso della politica italiana sui soccorsi ai migranti [NGOs and the new course of Italian policy on aid to migrants] 

AvvenireScafisti e petrolio. La beffa dei trafficanti libici con busta paga del governo [Smugglers and oil. The mockery of Libyan smugglers with government paychecks] 

TagesspiegelIm Mittelmeer gehen "Menschenrechte über Bord" [“Human rights overboard” in the Mediterranean], based on the report by SOS MEDITERRANEE Germany and today’s Press Conference 

Frankfurter RundschauVergesst Libyen nicht [Don’t forget Libya, op-ed by MSF Libya HoM] 

RFIWill Egypt send troops into Libya?

22/6-20

  • The Ocean Viking has set sail from Marseille to the Central Mediterranean at 08.30am today.

 

 

 

  • After 3 rescues in 48 hours on June 17 and 18 and after the provision of a Place of Safety in Italy was reportedly declined by authorities, the Sea Watch 3 was given the instruction by Italian authorities to transfer the 211 survivors onto the Moby Zazà Italian “quarantine” ship off Porte Empedocle, Sicily. On Saturday, health authorities and law enforcement boarded the ship. One of the survivors showed potential COVID-19 symptoms and was referred by Sea Watch to the authorities. He was tested for COVID-19 and the result came back negative on Sunday. The transfer was then allowed to start on Sunday night. Before that, on Sunday afternoon, 113 people remaining on board the Moby Zazà were disembarked as their quarantine ended.

 

Sea Watch has mentioned unconfirmed notifications that their crew would be quarantined off Porto Empedocle (to be confirmed).

 

Press review

 

By Shahzad Abdul, AFP journalist onboard the Ocean Viking:

-Le Monde, Après trois mois d’arrêt, l’« Ocean-Viking » reprend les sauvetages de migrants en Méditerranée (AFP dispatch)

-DH Les Sports, SOS Méditerranée: de l'Aquarius à l'Ocean Viking, 4 ans de sauvetages et de polémiques (AFP dispatch)

-+++ La Marseillaise, Défis humanitaire et sanitaire pour l’« Ocean Viking » (AFP dispatch)

Reuters, SOS Méditerranée reprend ses opérations de sauvetage de migrants

RTS, SOS Méditerranée repart secourir les migrants en mer sans l'aide de MSF (interview of Caroline, SOS MEDITERRANEE Switzerland’s General Director)

Vita, La Ocean Viking torna in mare per salvare vite umane

TV5 Monde Info, Interview of Hannah, midwife onboard, with freelance journalist onboard: https://twitter.com/TV5MONDEINFO/status/1274391666959450113?s=19

Infomigrants, L'Italie accepte les naufragés du Mare Jonio mais place en quarantaine ceux du Sea Watch

France 3, Coronavirus : l'Ocean Viking repart en mission de sauvetage en Méditerranée

Euronews, Abused in Libya and forced into prostitution back home: the nightmare of trying to reach Europe

Al Jazeera, Operation Irini: Turkey slams EU mission to contain arms to Libya

Reuters, Egypt has a legitimate right to intervene in Libya, Sisi says

19/6-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

211 people were rescued by the Sea Watch 3 in less than 48 hours. A third rescue took place last night. Sea Watch has reportedly asked for a Place of Safety for the disembarkation of the survivors. 

ReutersSea-Watch charity rescues hundreds of migrants from Mediterranean 

A survivor was evacuated from the Moby Zazà last night for medical reason. The person was evacuated by a Guardi di Finanza speedboat. According to Mediterraneo cronaca, it is not the first medical evacuation from the ferry. 

Mediterraneo cronacaMoby Zazà, evacuato un altro migrante 

A boat carrying 36 Tunisian citizens was intercepted by the Guardia di Finanza south of Lampedusa last night. The people were transferred to the reception center in Lampedusa, where only 8 people remained after approximately 120 were brought to Porto Empedocle, Sicily, by ferry earlier yesterday. 

Mediterraneo cronacaNuovo sbarco di migranti a Lampedusa su intervento Guardia di Finanza 

Agrigento notizieAncora sbarchi a Lampedusa, i migranti sono stati tutti trasferiti 
 

The Spanish Guardia Civil rescued a total of 38 people from four boats off the coast of Almería yesterday, EFE reports. 

The Spanish Coast Guard rescued 32 people off the coast of Fuerteventura yesterday. They had departed from El Aaiún, Western Sahara. Hygiene measures were reportedly increased after 14 of 39 people who arrived by boat on Sunday tested positive for COVID-19, according to EFE

The Spanish Coast Guard rescued 14 people from North Africa off the coast of Murcia, Spain, yesterday. They were reportedly disembarked last night in Cartagena, Spain. 

The Moroccan Navy intercepted a boat trying to depart Dakhla, Western Sahara, on Wednesday. The boat was headed to the Canary Islands carrying at least 25 people of sub-Saharan origin and intercepted shortly after departure, according to El Día. The Moroccan Navy further reports to have intercepted several boats carrying a total of almost 100 people on Wednesday night. They were disembarked in Nador, close to Spanish enclave Melilla. 

The IOM and the UNHCR have announced that as travel restrictions are progressively being lifted, more refugees will be resettled to resettlement countries while the organizations continue to work for a return to normal operations. The resettlement of approximately 10 000 refugees has been delayed due to the disruptions of air travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

IOM/UNHCRJoint Statement: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and IOM Director General António Vitorino announce resumption of resettlement travel for refugees 

 

Libya 

 

According to Al Jazeera, a UN investigation into human rights abuses by forces loyal to General Haftar could be launched. The head of the UN Support Mission in Libya and the Libyan Government of National Accord reportedly are in favour of drafting a resolution to investigate. 

Al JazeeraLibya human rights abuses: UN considering a draft resolution 

 

Press Review 

 

Le FigaroDes ONG humanitaires critiquent la surveillance aérienne des migrants par l'UE 

Mediterraneo cronacaDiritti in rotta, le “navi quarantena” tra rischi e criticità [Rights en route, the "quarantine ships" between risks and criticism] 

The Portugal NewsIllegal migrants crossing to the Algarve increasing 

The Guardian‘Boats arrive, people disappear’: one Greek's search for missing refugees 

Council of Europe: Pushbacks and border violence against refugees must end 

Al JazeeraThe unfolding geopolitical power play in war-torn Libya 

18/6-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

328 people were intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard and returned to Tripoli last night, the IOM reports. A total of six boats carrying 458 people were intercepted and returned within 24 hours yesterday. 

The crew onboard Sea Watch 3 conducted a second rescue last night. A total of 165 survivors are now onboard. This morning, the search for another boat in distress was still ongoing. Two more boats in distress were spotted in the Maltese Search and Rescue Region by Sea Watch’s airplane Moonbird last night that had reportedly not been rescued by this morning. One of them is presumed by Sea Watch to have reached Lampedusa autonomously.

Mediterranea cronaca reports an autonomous landing of 13 people to Lampedusa last night and of 49 people this morning. Of the 49, the majority is of Bangladeshi and some are of Tunisian nationality. A total of approximately 120 survivors reached Lampedusa between yesterday and this morning, according to journalist Angela Caponnetto

NGOs Sea Watch, Mediterranea, Borderline Europe and Alarm Phone have published a report describing how the EU and its Member States have reduced Search and Rescue activities and instead propped up the Libyan Coast Guards and eventually formalized a new SAR region under Libyan coordination. 

ReportRemote control: the EU-Libya collaboration in mass interceptions of migrants in the Central Mediterranean 

 

Libya 

 

French frigate Le Courbet reportedly became the target of what Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces of France, described as an “extremely aggressive” maneuver by Turkish warships. The Turkish frigate reportedly flashed its radar lights three times at the Courbet, which is commonly understood as taking aim. The Courbet was seeking to investigate Turkish cargo vessel Cirkin, which was suspected of smuggling arms to Libya after turning off its transponder, failing to identify itself and not enclosing its final destination. Ankara has denied the allegations of hostile acts at sea. NATO defence ministers will hold a video conference later this week. 

ReutersFrance accuses Turkey of hostile acts to stop enforcement of Libya arms embargo 

Le FigaroLe Courbet, navire français au large de la Libye, visé par une manœuvre turque «extrêmement agressive» 

 Libya has been elected to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for the term from 2021 to 2023.  

Anadolu AgencyLibya secures seat in UN ECOSOC 

 

Press Review

 

Shahzad Abdul, AFP journalist joining the Ocean Viking for the upcoming rotation, has published his first three articles today: 

  • AFP: Méditerranée: "Il y a des migrants dont on n'entend plus jamais parler" (HCR) [Mediterranean: There are migrants we never hear from again], PDF attached 
  • AFP: SOS Méditerranée: de l'Aquarius à l'Ocean Viking, 4 ans de sauvetages et de polémiques [SOS Méditerranée: From the Aquarius to the Ocean Viking, 4 years of rescues and polemics], PDF attached 
  • AFP: Migrants: face à l'"urgence", l'Ocean Viking s'apprête à retourner en Méditerranée [Ocean Viking getting ready to return to the Mediterranean in light of the “urgency”], PDF attached 

 

La ProvenceMigrants : face à l'"urgence", l'Ocean Viking s'apprête à retourner en Méditerranée, based on the AFP dispatch 

InfoMigrantsMer Méditerranée : l'Ocean Viking s'apprête à reprendre la mer [The Ocean Viking gets ready to return to sea] 

MSFLibya: crisis within a crisis [video] 

Al JazeeraTurkey's foreign minister visits Libya for talks with GNA 

Euro NewsUN: 1% of all humanity on the move as refugee numbers rise 

OpenImmigrazione, respingimenti e morti in mare. Ma l’Italia (e l’Ue) continuano a pagare la Libia [Immigration, rejections and deaths at sea. But Italy (and the EU) continue to pay Libya] 

Open MigrationRespingimenti per via aerea, la nuova strategia europea [Refoulement from the air, the new European strategy] 

InfoMigrantsSea-Watch rescues 165 migrants from central Mediterranean 

Diario de CadizCuatro años de prisión por trasladar en patera a 23 inmigrantes de Marruecos a España [Four years' imprisonment for transferring 23 immigrants from Morocco to Spain on a patera] 

17/6-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

Sea Watch has conducted a rescue of approximately 100 people 29 NM off the Libyan coast earlier today. Moonbird has reportedly spotted another distress case of a boat carrying an estimated 70 people, according to Sea Watch

6 boats with a total of approximately 59 people of Tunisian nationality reportedly reached Lampedusa today. Three autonomous landings of 4, 14 and 13 people respectively occurred during the first half of the day. All three of the boats are believed to have departed from the Tunisian town of Mahdia. Three more boats of approximately 11, 9 and 6 people were intercepted in territorial waters off Lampedusa by the Guardia di Finanza. 

Mediterraneo cronacaSequenza di sbarchi tunisini autonomi a Lampedusa 

The crew of the Mare Jonio witnessed an interception by the Libyan Coast Guard in the Libyan SRR today, NGO Mediterranea said in a Press Release

The IOM reports that 130 people were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya this morning. 

Following the shipwreck off Zawiyah over the weekend, the body of a female baby was found on the shore in Surman, Libya yesterday. 

Mediterraneo cronaca: Libia, il mare restituisce il corpo di una bambina dopo il naufragio  

27 people reached the Greek island of Lesvos autonomously this morning, according to press agency ANA-MPA

An autonomous arrival to the Balearic island of Mallorca was reported this morning. The Guardia Civil intercepted five people on land, a search is ongoing to locate more people who arrived on the same boat. 

Cadena SERLocalizada una patera con cinco personas cerca de Ses Salines 

A 22-year old Algerian man was sentenced to 6 years in jail in Spain for driving a boat with 15 people on board that were rescued off the coast of Almería, Spain, after days at sea without water, food or safety equipment. 

europa pressCondenado a seis años de cárcel por patronear una patera con menores a bordo que estuvo tres días en altamar 

 

Libya 

 

The number of cases of COVID-19 in Libya has risen to 484. Libya’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has recommended a 24-hour curfew on Friday and Saturday and making the wearing of masks compulsory. 

Libya HeraldLibya’s Coronavirus cases continue to rise daily 

EU High Representative Josep Borrell has urged EU member states to step up their support for operation Irini in a video conference held yesterday. The operation so far has two boats and three airplanes at its disposal. According to Borrell, more naval and aerial assets are needed. 

Al JazeeraEU chief urges bloc to increase support for Libya mission 

 

Press review 

 

Der Spiegel: Greece Suspected of Abandoning Refugees at Sea 

Das Erste: Wie die griechische Küstenwache Menschen in Seenot bringt [How the Greek Coast Guard puts people in distress at sea] 

VitaOxfam: «Dall'Italia più soldi alla Libia, mentre in mare si continua a morire» [More money from Italy to Libya, while at sea they continue to die] 

16/6-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

According to IOM Libya, 205 people were intercepted at sea and returned to Libya in the week from June 8th to 15th. 12 people lost their lives off the Libyan shore while trying to flee. 

According to the UNHCR, 3852 people were intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard from January 1st to May 31st. 

 

Libya 

 

The UNHCR and the World Food Programme have set up a joint food aid programme in Libya with the aim of reaching up to 10000 refugees and asylum seekers in response to the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of the ongoing conflict. According to the UN organisations, food prices and the cost of basic goods have increased by 24 percent since March. The distribution of food began yesterday and is planned to continue until the end of the year. 

UNHCRUNHCR, WFP join forces to reach thousands of refugees and asylum seekers in Libya with emergency food aid 

Le Figaro: Libye: mise en place d'un plan d'aide alimentaire pour des milliers de réfugiés 

Turkey and Russia will continue talks to reach a ceasefire in Libya despite the postponement of scheduled talks on Sunday, Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said. 

Al JazeeraTurkey, Russia continue to work together for Libya ceasefire 

 

Press Review 

 

NewsbookSurviving migrant speaks of death on the high seas 

Das ErsteWir schicken ein Schiff [We are sending a ship, documentary about the Sea Watch 4] 

InfoMigrantsMines, traps threaten the lives of migrants around Tripoli 

Human Rights WatchLibya: Apparent War Crimes in Tripoli 

MSFEscaping first Libya, and then coronavirus in Germany 

France24: 'Europe cannot allow itself to fail twice' on migration, EU Commission VP Schinas says 

BBCCoronavirus: What's life like for child refugees living in camps? 

BBCThe seafarers stranded on the high seas [Documentary Podcast] 

Il Librario“Salvarsi insieme”: Alessandra Sciurba racconta la realtà dei soccorsi nel Mediterraneo ["Saving ourselves together": Alessandra Sciurba tells the reality of rescue in the Mediterranean]

InfoMigrants: Members of group sexually 'exploiting Nigerian women' arrested 

15/6-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

The EU Commission, the External Action Service, UNHCR, IOM and Sea Eye will update Members of the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament on the situation in the Central Mediterranean today. The session should also give details on the mandate and activities of operation IRINI. A livestream of the discussion, which will be held from 16.45 to 18.45, is available here

12 people went missing and are feared drowned off Zawiyah, Libya, on Saturday. Among those missing are 2 children. Approximately 20 people from Chad, Nigeria, Egypt and Sudan were rescued by fishermen and returned to Libya. The boat the group had reported on from Zawiyah reportedly capsized shortly after setting off. According to IOM Libya, the search for bodies continues. 

APUN says dozen migrants feared drowned in capsizing off Libya 

InfoMigrants12 missing, feared drowned, after boat capsizes off Libya 

39 people were rescued by a private vessel after a Spanish Coast Guard aircraft spotted the boat in distress off Fuerteventura yesterday. Among the survivors are three children. 

EFERescatan al sur de Fuerteventura a 39 ocupantes de una patera, la cuarta detectada cerca de Canarias en junio 

The death toll of the shipwreck off Sfax approximately 10 days ago has risen to 61, after the Tunisian Coast Guard recovered more bodies, including that of a baby, over the weekend. 

ReutersDeath toll in migrant ship disaster off Tunisia rises to 61 

The Hellenic Coast Guard rescued 36 people off Lesvos on Saturday night. Alarm Phone had relayed and published the distress alert earlier that day. During the 15 hours between the initial reporting on the case and the rescue, the NGO published updates on the situation on board. According to Alarm Phone, the condition of a pregnant woman deteriorated during the day and she reportedly went into labour before the rescue started. Alarm Phone since reported that the woman and her baby have survived. One person had to be hospitalized, the Hellenic Coast Guard told AFP. 

ANA-MPA NewsThirty-six migrants rescued near Lesvos on Sunday 

InfoMigrants36 migrants rescued off Lesbos on Sunday 

Germany has reportedly joined the list of countries offering to take in people that were formerly held on the Captain Morgan tourist ships outside Maltese territorial waters. France, Luxemburg, Portugal and Germany have so far pledged to take in survivors. The European Commission is reportedly coordinating the relocation and trying to enlist more countries to step up. 

The Malta IndependentAnother EU member state offers to take migrants from Malta 

On 17 June 2018, the Aquarius disembarked 629 survivors in Valencia, Spain. Two years later, most of the rescued people are still undocumented. They have formed an association and complained that their requests for international protection have not yet been treated. Additionally, those who were working have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have announced a gathering and a press conference for the day after tomorrow, the 2-year anniversary of their disembarkation. 

Cadena SerLos migrantes del 'Aquarius' siguen sin papeles dos años después 

 

Libya 

 

On Sunday, Pope Francis called on international organisations, political and military leaders to stop the violence in Libya and to protect “the thousands of migrants, refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons in Libya”. 

Times of MaltaPope calls for world to push for end to Libya violence 

La StampaAppello del Papa per la Libia: “Cessare le violenze. Proteggere i migranti vittime di crudeltà” 

 

Press review 

InfoMigrantsCOVID-19 has aggravated situation for migrants in Libya says MSF 

Arab NewsFrance says Turkey conduct in Libya 'unacceptable' 

Mediterraneo cronacaMoby Zazà, bilancio del primo mese di noleggio della nave-quarantena [Moby Zazà, review of the first month of charter of the quarantine ship]  

TazAus der Seenot zurück nach Libyen [From distress at sea back to Liyba] 

Amnesty InternationalMenschenrechte bleiben auf der Strecke [Human rights are left behind, comment on the EU pact for asylum and migration]

12/6-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

The death toll of the shipwreck off the Tunisian coast has risen to 55, AFP reports. According to Tunisian authorities, 28 women, 25 men and 2 children are among the deceased. The boat has reportedly departed in the night between June 4th and 5th. The first bodies were found on Tuesday. 

L’Orient-Le JourNaufrage de migrants au large de la Tunisie : 55 morts, selon un nouveau bilan 

In the aftermath of the shipwreck off the Tunisian coast, the IOM has called on EU member states to increase Search and Rescue capacity. IOM Libya Chief of Mission Federico Soda has reiterated that Libya is not a Place of Safety and appealed to the coastal EU States closest to Libya to abandon their policy of closed ports. 

Vatican NewsL’OIM si appella agli Stati del Mediterraneo: salvare i migranti 

The UNHCR has called on Greece to investigate reports of pushbacks at sea. Since March, reports of incidents in which the Hellenic Coast Guard summarily returned people at sea and on land from Greek to Turkish territory or territorial waters have multiplied. 

UNHCRUNHCR calls on Greece to investigate pushbacks at sea and land borders with Turkey 

L’Orient-Le JourLa Grèce appelée à enquêter sur les refoulements vers la Turquie 

The European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs will meet on Monday to assess the situation of migrants and refugees in the Central Mediterranean. Frontex, the IOM, the UNHCR and Sea Eye will be present. 

 

Libya 

 

According to the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), at least eight mass graves have been discovered in an area retaken by the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA). Most of the graves were found in Tarhuna, the last stronghold of Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA). The GNA Ministry of Justice will establish a committee to investigate the graves. In March, UNSMIL had received reports of hundreds of forced disappearances, torture, killings and displacement of entire families in Tarhuna by forces loyal to Haftar. The UN mission also verified numerous summary executions at the prison of Tarhuna last fall. The UN and the US have expressed their “horror” at the discovery of the mass graves. 

Al JazeeraUN expresses 'horror' at reported mass graves in Libya 

CNNUN says at least eight mass graves have been reported found in Libya 

In the World Health Organization’s report on its health response to COVID-19 in Libya for the period from 28 May to 10 June, the organization counts a total of 359 confirmed cases of COVID-19 for the whole of Libya, of which 5 patients have died and 58 are recovered. A total of 14 627 samples have been tested throughout the country. According to the head of the Libyan National Center for Disease Control, one of the biggest obstacles to an adequate COVID-19 response is the fragmented governance and lack of cooperation between rivalling governance bodies. 

WHO LibyaHealth response to COVID-19 in Libya, update # 8 (Reporting period: 28 May-10 June 2020) 

 
Press review 

 

Le MondeLes opérations de sauvetage reprennent après un « printemps noir » en Méditerranée [Rescue operations restart after a “black spring” in the Mediterranean] +++ Including an interview with Sophie Beau  

EFEHallados los cadáveres de los 54 migrantes que naufragaron frente a Túnez [Bodies of 54 migrants found after shipwreck off Tunisia] 

The EconomistLibya’s government regains control of western Libya 

NetzpolitikUnter dem Radar gegen das Völkerrecht [Against international law under the radar] 

Heinrich Böll StiftungClosed Ports, Dubious Partners  

ISPILe migrazioni che verranno [The migration to come] 

11/6-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean

 

Approximately 50 people of Tunisian nationality have reached Lampedusa autonomously today. It is the first arrival after the tragedy off the coast of Sfax. 

Mediterraneo cronacaPrimo sbarco tunisino a Lampedusa dopo la tragedia di Sfax

German Minister of Interior Horst Seehofer has announced that Germany will resume the reception of people who are relocated from Greece, Malta and Italy. Germany has pledged to take in 80 people from Italy and Malta respectively, and 249 children from refugee camps on the Greek islands along with their families. Seehofer mentioned a lack of solidarity in relocating those rescued from distress at sea: While about a dozen EU countries pledged to take in people from the Greek islands, “at most half a dozen” countries stepped up to take in survivors. 

Evangelisch.de: Asyl: Seehofer kündigt Wiederbeginn humanitärer Aufnahmen an [Seehofer announces resumption of humanitarian relocations] 

InfoMigrantsGermany to accept asylum seekers from Malta and Italy 

Tagesschau: Deutschland nimmt rund 400 Menschen auf 

After the shipwreck off Tunisia earlier this week, 52 bodies have been found (initial reports this morning spoke of 34 bodies, more were recovered throughout the day). 

ReutersDeath toll in migrant ship disaster off Tunisia rises to 46 

TagesschauFlüchtlinge bei Bootsunglück ertrunken 

Repubblica: Migranti, in Tunisia la strage delle donne. Dei 34 corpi recuperati dopo il naufragio di lunedi 22 sono di subsahariane 

The GuardianAt least 35 people dead as migrant boat sinks off Tunisia 

L’Express52 morts dans le naufrage d'un bateau de migrants au large de la Tunisie

According to the IOM, 9569 people have fled Libya this year so far, almost double compared to the same period in 2019 (4158).  
IOMIOM Libya Monthly Update 

According to Avvenire journalist Nello Scavo, the prosecutor’s office in Ragusa has officially acquired the joint investigation of Avvenire and The Guardian into an incident during the Easter weekend in which Maltese authorities allegedly equipped a boat in distress with fuel and a new engine before directing it out of the Maltese Search and Rescue Region and on to Pozzallo. The prosecution reportedly seeks to bring charges of “aiding and abetting illegal immigration”. 

AvvenireMigranti e petrolio, ricatto a Roma. E Ragusa indaga sui dirottamenti di Malta 

  

Libya

 

United States President Donald Trump has voiced an interest in a swift ceasefire agreement in phone calls to Egyptian President al-Sisi. This week, a standoff occurred between Greek and Turkish navy vessels after a Greek helicopter, linked by Greek frigate Spetsai operating under EU Operation Irini, approached a Turkish cargo ship. When a Turkish navy vessel came to its defence, the Italian Irini commander eventually ordered the Greek frigate to back off. 

The GuardianDonald Trump joins calls for Libya ceasefire 

 

Press review

 

The New HumanitarianLibyan doctors battle on two dangerous fronts: COVID-19 and war 

El DiarioLos barcos de rescate humanitario regresan al Mediterráneo central [Humanitarian rescue ships return to Central Mediterranean] 

MaltaTodayAfter Malta’s migration hardball failed to move EU, diplomat takes the fall 

MaltaTodayBartolo speaks to Russia’s Sergey Lavrov on Libyan conflict and migration 

MaltaToday[ANALYSIS] Populist showboating and bad faith: Malta’s Captain Morgan fiasco 

France InfoCoronavirus : deux nouveaux cas de Covid-19 à bord du porte-avions "Charles-de-Gaulle" [Two new Covid-19 cases on airplane carrier “Charles-de-Gaulle"] 

The New HumanitarianTunisia: North Africa’s overlooked migration hub 

InfoMigrantsTunisie : des dizaines de migrants détenus dans un centre illégal 

Human Rights Watch: ‘Under water or under a knee, we can’t breathe’

10/6-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

Yesterday, Mediterranea’s rescue ship Mare Jonio left the port of Trapani for a mission in the Central Mediterranean. 

RepubblicaTute, mascherine e cabina di isolamento: la Mare Jonio torna in missione 

185 people were returned to Libya by the Libyan Coast Guard last night, as the IOM reports. According to Repubblica, many children were among those returned. Meanwhile the UNHCR reports a different figure, stating that approximately 250 people disembarked in Tripoli last night after being intercepted at sea.

According to journalist Angela Caponnetto, 21 of the 24 bodies that have so far been found after the shipwreck off the Tunisian coast earlier this week were female. One of them was reportedly pregnant. Most of them are reportedly of Ivorian nationality. Two small children under the age of 3 are also among the deceased. 

The Astral, the sailing vessel operated by Proactiva-Open Arms, is sailing from the Canary Islands to Barcelona to prepare for a return to the Central Mediterranean. 

Greek Shipping Minister Ioannis Plakiotakis has denied allegations against the Greek Coast Guard of performing push-backs to Turkish territorial waters. In a press conference today, Plakiotakis stated that instead, the Turkish Coast Guard systematically escorts boats to Greek waters. 

EkathimeriniMinister rejects Aegean pushback allegations 

 

Libya 

 
The EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell called for a swift agreement on a ceasefire in Libya and a withdrawal of all foreign forces, mercenaries and military equipment, in a joint statement with the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Italy. German chancellor Merkel discussed the situation in Libya with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday and Russian president Vladimir Putin on Tuesday. 

Al JazeeraEU calls on conflict parties in Libya to withdraw foreign forces 

 

Press review 

 

EU ObserverVoice from Libya: No one is winning 

CNBCLibya’s National Oil Corporation declares force majeure on its largest oil field after shutdown by militia 

MigreuropPolitiques du non-accueil en Tunisie : des acteurs humanitaires au service des politiques sécuritaires européennes [Policies of non-accommodation in Tunisia: humanitarian actors at the service of European security policies] 

The Morning Star‘Europe will continue with its border control policies, and we will continue fighting for human rights’ [Interview with Inigo Mijangos of Salvamento Marítimo Humanitario]

9/6-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean

 

At least 20 people died off the Tunisian coast, a Tunisian official said on Tuesday. A total of 53 people had departed from Tunisia on the weekend in an attempt to reach Italy. The bodies were found off the coast of Sfax on Tuesday, Tunisian Coast Guard and army units are searching for more missing people. 

Reuters: At least 20 die as migrant boat sinks off Tunisia

Sea Watch has announced the first mission of its airplane Moonbird above the Central Mediterranean since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic today.  

In the 10 days from 29 May to 7 June, at least 337 people reached Italy or Malta from Libya according to IOM Libya's most recent Maritime Update. 194 people were reportedly intercepted and returned to Libya in a single day on June 3rd. 

German media reports that a change in regulations imposed by the German Ministry of Transport will make it harder for organisations to use ships that are registered as sports or recreational craft for sea rescue. This will affect, for example, Mare Liberum, Mission Lifeline's "Rise Above" and ResQship's Josefa, who will now have to meet much higher safety requirements. 

NDRSchärfere Regeln erschweren Seenotrettung von Flüchtlingen 

Der SpiegelSeenotretter werfen Scheuer Verhinderung von Einsätzen vor 

The European Commission has reportedly turned down a request by the Maltese authorities for financial support to cover the costs of holding survivors on tourist cruise ships in international waters. The Maltese authorities reportedly requested access to funds from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) but the EU found the request not eligible for support since only measures that meet all legal conditions can receive financial support: According to an EU spokesperson, this would include “providing access to the asylum procedure in line with EU law”. This was not given for those held on the tourist vessels who stayed in international waters. 

Times of MaltaEU will not pay for boats that held migrants offshore 
 

Press review

 

Al JazeeraErdogan says 'agreements' reached with Trump over Libya 

CNNRussia raises stakes with 'brazen' military intervention in Libyan conflict 

The Arab WeeklyTurkey crosses Russian red lines in Libya, LNA awaits Egypt’s ‘Plan B’ 

The New HumanitarianThis global pandemic could transform humanitarianism forever. Here’s how 

8/6-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

Malta allowed 425 people held on 4 tourist cruise ships (some for more than a month) to disembark on the weekend after a group of survivors reportedly started protesting and the situation became unsustainable for the crew and rescued people. While there was no plan for the relocation of the survivors at the time of the disembarkation, Ansa has since reported that France, Luxemburg and Portugal have offered to take in some of the 425 people, while the Times of Malta reports the 3 countries as France, Luxemburg and Finland. 

ReutersMalta forced to allow detained migrants to land after revolt 

Ouest FranceMalte autorise le débarquement de 400 migrants bloqués en mer 

EuractivNo EU country accepted any of the 400 migrants stranded off Malta 

Deutsche WelleMalta lets migrants ashore after weeks in limbo 

AnsaMigranti: Ue, bene sbarco a Malta,3 Paesi pronti a accogliere 

Times of Malta: Three EU countries have offered to help Malta with migrant relocation

 

The Sea Watch 3 set sail from Messina to the Central Mediterranean on Saturday. 

Le Parisien: Migrants : l’ONG Sea Watch reprend ses opérations de sauvetage

Zeit: "Sea Watch 3" nach drei Monaten wieder im Mittelmeer unterwegs

 

A site where abandoned boats used for crossings of the Mediterranean are collected near the port, sometimes referred to as “boat graveyard”, was set on fire in an alleged arson on Lampedusa on Friday night. The incident came less than a week after vandals wrapped the Porta d’Europa monument, an artwork commemorating those who lost their lives while trying to flee across the Mediterranean, in plastic bags. The mayor of Lampedusa warned of efforts to create an atmosphere of tension and intolerance on the island. 

The GuardianSicily launches inquiry into fire in 'migrant boats graveyard' 

La SiciliaLampedusa, incendiate le barche dei migranti, il sindaco Martello: «C'è chi alimenta la tensione» 

 

According to IOM Turkey, more than 10,000 people have tried fleeing Turkey by sea since the beginning of the year. In the first week of June, the Turkish Coast Guard rescued 354 people. 

According to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency, a boat carrying 40 people from Afghanistan and African countries reached the Greek island of Lesvos on Sunday. It was the second autonomous landing on the island this month. 

The Spanish Red Cross, along with the Spanish authorities, will set up a reception center for up to 900 people on Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, as EFE reports. The step is a response to the high number of autonomous arrivals to the Canary Islands during the COVID–19 pandemic. 

Three men were sentenced by the Provincial Court of Almería, Spain, for organizing a crossing from Algeria to Spain for approximately ten people. Each of the survivors reportedly paid between 1,200 and 1,500 Euros for the crossing. They spent about 30 hours at sea before being rescued by the Spanish Coast Guard on January 1st this year. 

Europa pressCondenan a tres hombres por organizar una patera con diez personas, que pagaron hasta 1.500 euros por la travesía 

 

Libya 

 

The self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) reportedly accepted a unilateral cease-fire sponsored by Egypt, as was announced at a ceremony in Cairo on Saturday. However, the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) rejected the truce and pushed to take the coastal Libyan city of Sirte today. According to Al Jazeera, at least 8 civilians were killed and six wounded during the shelling of a town west of Sirte today. 

BloombergStrongman Haftar Accepts Initiative to End Libya’s Civil War 

Al JazeeraLibya's GNA forces press ahead after failed truce offer by Egypt 

The GuardianLibyan government defies Russian warnings with plans to take eastern sites 

 

Press review 

 

France InterLes dangers de l’internationalisation de la guerre en Libye [The dangers of the internationalisation of the war in Libya] 

The TelegraphLibya may have escaped the pandemic but for its thousands of refugees the suffering continues [By MSF’s Libya Head of Mission] 

InfoMigrantsAmnesty warns of human rights situation in Italy, criminalization of rescue NGOs 

InfoMigrantsGrèce : nouvelle prolongation du confinement dans les camps de migrants [Greece: new extension of the confinement in migrant camps] 

UNHCRUNHCR Libya Update 5 June 2020 

The New York TimesUAE Says Egypt Initiative for Libya Boosts Peace Track 

Daily SabahEU: Unilateral Cairo Declaration on Libya 'unacceptable' 

5/6-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

One autonomous landing and one rescue operation in Lampedusa were reported yesterday by Angela CaponnettoSergio Scandura and Mediterraneo Cronaca. A total of approximately 110 people reached the island on the two boats. 

The Ministers of the Interior of states of the Visegrad Group (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary), as well as Estonia, Latvia and Slovenia, have sent a letter to the EU Commission to voice their opposition to a compulsory system for the relocation of migrants in the EU. The Italian Minister of the Interior, Luciana Lamorgese, introduced a proposal drafted by Italy, Cyprus, Greece, Malta and Spain for a new EU immigration and asylum policy to the Ministers of the Interior of the EU today. The reform of the Dublin process and a “New Pact on Immigration” are among the priorities of the German presidency in the Council of the European Union, which will start on July 1. 

AnsaItalia e altri Med per ricollocamenti obbligatori 

8 cases of COVID–19 were detected among the almost 2500 people who reached the Canary Islands by boat this year until May 31st

europa pressCanarias detecta 8 casos positivos por Covid-19 entre casi 2.500 migrantes llegados en cayucos y pateras 

The Greek frigate Spetsai, deployed in support of operation EUNAVFOR Med Irini, has arrived in the mission’s area of operations in the Central Mediterranean. 

B2La frégate Spetsai sur zone, annonce l’opération EUNAVFOR Med Irini 

Commodore Theodoros Mikropoulos of the Greek Navy is the new chief of staff for Operation Irini after taking over from Italian Army Brigadier General Sebastiano Longo, the Operation announced on Twitter today. 

According to Ekathimerini, a refugee camp in Northern Greece was put under quarantine yesterday after a pregnant woman tested positive for Covid-19. 

 

Libya 

Forces loyal to the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) announced today that they entered Tarhuna, the last major stronghold of General Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) in the West. The announcement comes a day after the GNA pushed the LNA from its last positions Tripoli. The city's loss is believed to be a major blow to Haftar’s forces, as the offensive to take Tripoli was mostly launched from Tarhuna. 

Al JazeeraLibyan government forces seize Haftar stronghold Tarhuna 

 

Press review 

Memorandum of Agreement Between the Government of National Accord of the State of Libya and The Government of Malta in the Field of Combatting Illegal Immigration (full text) 

Ouest FranceLibye, frontières… Ce qu’il faut retenir de la visite de Jean-Yves Le Drian à Rome et au Vatican [Libya, borders... What we should remember from Jean-Yves Le Drian's visit to Rome and the Vatican] 

TimeCoronavirus Strands Merchant Ship Crews at Sea For Months 

InfoMigrantsMalta sets up center in Libya to fight irregular migration 

4/6-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

IOM Libya reports that 194 people were intercepted and returned to Libya today. 

The Spanish Coast Guard has rescued 47 people in distress of the Canary Island of Lanzarote today. 

Alarm Phone was alerted to two boats in distress in the Aegean today, one carrying about 35 people and a second one carrying about 35-38 peopleFootage from the second boat in distress published by Alarm Phone shows masked men approaching the boat. 

Last week, the Maltese and Libyan authorities have reportedly signed a Memorandum of Understanding that entails establishing “migration coordination centres” in Tripoli and Valletta. The centres are to be financed by Malta and commence operations from July 2020. A Maltese official is to be posted in the Tripoli centre and a Libyan official in the Valletta centre. Their operations should encompass “support and coordination”. According to the MoU, Malta will also propose to the European Commission and EU Member States an increase in financial support to the Libyan Government of National Accord for border control and additional maritime assets. 

MaltaTodayMaltese official to be posted in Libya in fight against ‘illegal immigration’ 

SeaWatch has announced that the crew of the Sea Watch 3 is undergoing a 14-day quarantine in Messina in preparation the ship’s next mission. The ship is expected to depart from Messina as soon as the quarantine is successfully completed. 

Today, the Council of Europe Commissioner of Human Rights has issued a statement calling for “immediate action” to disembark the more than 400 survivors held on cruise ships outside Maltese territorial waters. 

Council of EuropeImmediate action needed to disembark migrants held on ships off Malta’s coast 

The Italian authorities reportedly refused access to documents that could have contributed to the investigation into the deaths of 12 people in distress over the Easter weekend. According to documentation obtained by Italian newspaper Avvenire, a Frontex aircraft had communicated the positions of the boat in distress to the maritime authorities in Rome and Valletta. The Italian government has reportedly accused Malta of not responding to requests for updates on the rescue of the distress cases from Rome. The documents that could prove this communication, however, were not disclosed by the Italian authorities. According to the Italian authorities, providing access to the information in question could have implications for international relations, presumably with Libya and Malta. 

AvvenireMalta si auto-assolve dalla strage. E l'Italia pone il segreto sui barconi [Malta is absolving itself from the massacre. And Italy puts the secret on the boats] 

 

Libya 

The Government of National Accord has announced that it has regained full control of Tripoli after seizing the airport of Tripoli. The city was besieged by Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army since April 2019. The clashes over the airport occurred while a video conference between members of the LNA and the UN envoy Stephanie Williams about a renewed ceasefire was ongoing. An LNA source reportedly told Reuters news agency that the LNA was withdrawing from all suburbs, but there has been no official communication by the Eastern forces. 

BBC: Libya conflict: GNA regains full control of Tripoli from Gen Haftar 

Al JazeeraLibya's GNA says it regained full control of the capital, Tripoli 

Zeit OnlineLibyens Regierung meldet Einnahme des Flughafens von Tripolis [Libyan government announces seizure of Tripoli airport] 

According to journalist Sara Creta, approximately 70 people tried to escape from a detention centre in Zawiya, Libya today. 2 men have reportedly been shot and transferred to a hospital. 

 

Press review 

 

EFEEl miedo al virus no viaja en patera [The fear of the virus doesn’t travel on dinghies] 

MSFConflict and COVID-19 adds up to a crisis within a crisis in Libya (photo story) 

Rai NewsVivere su un barcone turistico al largo di Malta: oltre 400 migranti confinati in mezzo al mare [Living on a tourist boat off Malta: over 400 migrants confined in the middle of the sea] 

RFIMéditerranée: plus de 400 migrants bloqués au large de Malte [More than 400 migrants blocked off Malta] 

3/6-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

14 people of Tunisian nationality have reached Lampedusa autonomously this morning.  

Mediterraneo cronacaContinuano gli sbarchi autonomi a Lampedusa, 14 tunisini a Cala Galera [The autonomous landings in Lampedusa continue, 14 Tunisians at Cala Galera] 

 

The European Commission has called on EU Member States to find an urgent solution for the disembarkation of the 425 survivors who are stuck on 4 cruise ships outside Maltese territorial waters. A spokesperson for the European Commission emphasized the need for cooperation, solidarity and collective responsibility in the matter. (AFP dispatch, PDF attached.) 

 

Libya 

 

The Deputy Prime Minister of the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), Ahmed Maetig, has arrived in Russia for talks about paths to a ceasefire in Libya. The visit comes two days after the GNA and the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) agreed to restart ceasefire talks. 

Al JazeeraSenior official of Libya's GNA arrives in Russia for talks 

 

Press review: 

[Press Release] SOS MEDITERRANEE: 400 people stranded off Malta, lack of EU response: Deterioration of Mediterranean crisis sparks fear of further tragedy 

Le Figaro (via AFP)L'association SOS Méditerranée dénonce une crise humanitaire «sans précédent» [SOS MEDITERRANEE denounces an “unprecedented” humanitarian crisis, article based on today’s press release] 

TIME: More Than 400 Migrants Living in Limbo Aboard Chartered Pleasure Cruise Ships off Maltese Coast 

TazKüstenwache unter Gegenbeobachtung [Coast Guard under surveillance] 

AvvenireLibia, i trafficanti approfittano del caos: la tratta dei poveri sui canotti 

VitaBilal, che dalla nave quarantena voleva raggiungere a nuoto l'Europa [Bilal, who wanted to swim to Europe from the quarantine ship] 

DeutschlandfunkWie Europa die Corona-Krise gegen Geflüchtete benutzt [How Europe is using the Corona crisis against those who flee, radio interview with Till, SOS MEDITERRANEE Germany board member] 

Times of MaltaYoung men sit and wait aboard Malta's offshore detention centres 

EU ObserverEU's new migration pact must protect people on the move 

Al JazeeraCan Russia and Turkey offer a solution to the Libyan crisis? 

2/6-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

77 people have reached Lampedusa autonomously this morning according to Angela Caponnetto (originally reported as 74) and Mediterraneo cronaca. They are believed to be survivors of a distress case that Alarm Phone reported last night, although there is no official confirmation. 

Yesterday and today, 4 autonomous landings of 9, 8, 6 and 5 people in Lampedusa were reported by Angela Caponnetto. According to Caponetto, 80 of those who reached Lampedusa yesterday and today were transferred to the Moby Zazà. 

A protest has been reported from Marsa, a reception centre for asylum seekers in Malta, where a large group of people demanded “freedom”. According to the Times of Malta, the gates of the centre were locked. 

Times of MaltaMigrants demand ‘freedom’ at Marsa centre protest 

Parts of the testimonies gathered for the inquiry into the death of at least five people on a rubber dinghy in the Maltese SAR during the Easter weekend were published by the Times of Malta. The testimonies detail some of the instructions the shipowners and Captains of the private fishing vessels received from the Armed Forces of Malta while forcibly returning the rescued people to Libya. The inquiry has acquitted the Prime Minister and the Armed Fores of wrongdoing in this case. 

Times of Malta‘Keep your lights off, so they don’t fire a rocket’: inside the Libya pushback 

 

Press review 

 

MaltaTodayIllegal floating prisons 

EU ObserverMalta fiddles on migrants, as Libya burns 

The National: We are witnessing a colossal failure to care for migrants in Libya

AL-MonitorUS commander suggests sending military trainers to Tunisia after Russia sends aircraft to Libya 

The Washington PostCivilian casualties surge in Libya during Tripoli battle, study finds

1/6-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  

  • The Maltese Prime Minister, as well as the brigadier and crew of an Armed Forces of Malta patrol boat, have been cleared of accusations of homicide made by the NGO Repubblika by a magisterial inquiry. The Magistrate called on “the police’s counter terrorism unit to investigate a suspected smuggler”, explains the Times of Malta. The investigation was triggered by the NGO Repubblika police complaints about the death of 5 persons left stranded onboard a boat in distress in Maltese waters and the alleged intentionally sabotage of another boat in distress during Easter week.  

Times of Malta:  Inquiry into migrant deaths clears Prime Minister of homicide claims 

Malta TodayMagistrate throws out Repubblika complaint of homicide in migrant rescue 

 

  • After its reported intervention (along with the UN) to stop a tanker on Saturday, the anti-aircraft frigate Jean Bart of the Operation IRINI already left the operation and has not yet been replaced, reports Mer et Marine. For now, the EUNAVFORMED operation only has aerial assets left. 
  • 95 Tunisians, including 9 minors, arrived almost autonomously in Lampedusa yesterday. They were rescued about 3 miles from the coast and seem to have been boarded on a line ferry that will arrive in Porto Empedocle in the evening. Once arrived in the port of the south coast of Sicily, they will be “transferred to the Centers for Repatriation (CPR) pending a return to Tunisia after having spent the period of preventive isolation for the health risk of Covid-19", according to Mediterraneo cronaca.  
  • On Saturday, Lampedusa’s hotspot was again “emptied" according to Ansa press agency. “98 people have left the island with Coast Guard patrol boats and Guardia di Finanza while 86 others have boarded a line ferry for Porto Empedocle”.  
  • In a briefing to the Security Council made in May 19th, the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) reports that since January, more than 3,200 refugees & asylum seekers have been intercepted at sea & returned to Libya, “frequently to abusive conditions in detention, whilst others have disappeared altogether."  

Libya  

  • Regarding the attack that killed 30 people and wounded 11 others in Libya on May 27th, UN Libya deplored to “see the basic human rights of the migrants in Mezda not respected, and that a lack of regard for their safety led to this senseless atrocity.” Libya’s foreign ministry condemned the killing of the 26 Bangladeshi nationals (the 4 other victims are Africans) and said it would bring the killers to book, according to the Daily Star and the Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha.  
  • Coronavirus cases continue to increase in Libya’s south. Libya’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported 38 new cases in the south of Libya and eleven recoveries over the weekend. The latest official figures bring Libya’s total cases to 156 and still 5 deaths.   
  • After a series of defeats, yesterday Haftar’s forces “retook a key town from militias allied with the U.N.-supported government”, according to Haftar’s officials as reported by Associated Press. The press agency adds that the “growing foreign intervention in the conflict appears to move the Libyan war into a new phase.”  
  • missile attack attributed to a militia loyal to General Haftar killed five people in Tripoli today, while 12 others were injured, reports Daily Sabah. Yesterday, five civilians were also killed in a reported rocket attack from Haftar’s forces on Tripoli's city center.  

 

Press review  

 

Mediterraneo cronaca - L’Italia si nasconde dietro Malta, ma accordi di abbandono in mare e politica dei porti chiusi nascono a Roma [Italy hides behind Malta, but agreements on abandonment at sea and closed port politics are born in Rome.] 

 

RFI - Libye: trafic actif de migrants du Bangladesh vers Tripoli [Libya: active smuggling of migrants from Bangladesh to Tripoli] 

 
La Repubblica - Migranti, nel centro di detenzione a Zintan: "Senza acqua, sapone e mascherine, siamo terrorizzati dal Covid" [Migrants, in the detention centre in Zintan: "Without water, soap and masks, we are terrified of Covid."] 

 
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights - Turkey sends new 400 mercenaries to Libya, and over 350 killed so far 


Refugee Support Aegean - A total of 229 asylum-seekers arrived on Lesvos since early May. 16 of those are held in quarantine in a bus 


EFE One hundred and five immigrants arrive on the islands in three small boats on Canary Islands Day 

29/5-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

Approximately 186 people reached Lampedusa autonomously on three boats yesterday, as Angela Caponnetto reports. Almost all the survivors were transferred to Porto Empedocle today to free the hotspot on the island. 

Mediterraneo cronacaTre sbarchi in un giorno, 187 migranti solo a Lampedusa 

Mediterraneo cronacaTrasferiti tutti i migranti approdati ieri a Lampedusa 

According to IOM Libya’s most recent Maritime Update, 697 people were intercepted and returned to Libya within the past 14 days. 130 people were reported missing in the Central Mediterranean in 2020 so far. 

Three men were sentenced to 20 years in prison in Italy for torturing arbitrarily detained people in Libyan detention centers. A 22-year-old Guinean citizen and two Egyptian citizens of 26 and 24 years of age were found guilty by a court in Messina, where they disembarked after being rescued by Mediterranea’s sailing boat Alex in September last year. In the hotspot in Messina, other survivors and victims of the three recognized the men. 

AvvenireCondannati a Messina tre torturatori arruolati in Libia dagli uomini di Bija [Three torturers, enlisted by Bija’s men, sentenced in Messina] 

Messina OraTorturavano migranti in Libia, condannati a 20 anni a Messina [They tortured migrants in Libya, sentenced to 20 years in Messina] 

The Guardian reports that police in Siciliy are investigating claims that the Maltese Armed Forces turned away a boat in distress that later reached Pozzallo, Italy, instead of performing a rescue. The prosecutor’s office may open an investigation and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the Maltese government for not abiding by international laws. The Guardian and Avvenire reported the allegations two weeks ago. 

The GuardianItaly considers charges over Malta's 'shocking' refusal to rescue migrants 

 

Press review 

IOMIOM Deplores Killing of 30 Trafficked Migrants in Libya 

Monitor (WDR)Sterben im Mittelmeer: Europas Rückzug bei der Seenotrettung [Deaths in the Mediterranean: Europe’s withdrawal from sea rescue] 

Al Jazeera'Largest drone war in the world': How airpower saved Tripoli

Radio Nova: Il n'y a plus de sauvetages en Méditerranée

28/5-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

  • Last night, approximately 75 people have been rescued by the Armed Forces of Malta, reports Time of Malta. A fourth tourist ship, the Jade, belonging to Supreme Cruises company, has been chartered by the authorities to hold them at sea. The Jade, who could accommodate up to 250 people according to the Maltese government, will stay close to the three Captain Morgan vessels. The 75 survivors were reportedly temporarily transferred to one of the Captain Morgan vessels until the arrival of the new boat.   
  • This morning, Alarm Phone was alerted to a boat in distress with approximately 48 people in the Maltese Search and Rescue Region.    
  • Today, 86 people arrived autonomously in Lampedusa. According to Mediterraneo cronaca, "they left from the Libyan port of Zuwara, four days ago, aboard a wooden boat. All were transferred to the first reception center after the sanitary triage on the dock. " 

Sergio Scandura: https://twitter.com/scandura/status/1266017987657596929 

Mediterraneo Cronaca: A Lampedusa una delle due barche in pericolo, 86 persone a bordo [In Lampedusa one of the two boats in danger, 86 people on board] 

 

  • The 98 people who were rescued by the Portuguese-flagged commercial ship MS Anne on Monday night, disembarked in Misrata yesterday evening and were taken to a detention center after spending two nights on board, stated IOM-Libya. While the Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva said on Tuesday that the ship had “strictly complied with regulations”, according to Espresso and Observador, regarding this case, the European Commission reminded that Libya is not a place of safety: “All vessels sailing with Member State flags are committed to international law with regard to rescues and must ensure that rescued people are taken to a place of safety. We do not believe that these conditions are currently guaranteed in Libya.” 

Infomigrants: 98 migrants returned to Libya after being rescued by commerical ship 

EFE: https://twitter.com/JavierMartinr1/status/1266036573537173504 

Observador: Comissão Europeia confirma: navio português violou lei ao desembarcar migrantes na Líbia [European Commission confirms: Portuguese vessel broke the law by landing migrants in Libya] 

 

  • Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela, and delegation of Maltese government officials met with Fayez al-Sarraj, Prime Minister of the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) today. Discussions revolved around “the need to push the EU to help Libya to train its coastguard, obtain funding for reception camps manned by the UN, as well as to build a realistic strategy to slow down the flow of migrants into Libya.” according to the Times of Malta. Signing a memorandum of understanding, Malta and Libya agreed to set up units in each country to coordinate operations against illegal migration. These centres are expected to start operating within the coming weeks.  

 

Libya 

  • The family of a Libyan human trafficker killed 30 migrants in revenge for his death, 11 injured survivors were taken to a hospital in Zintan.  

Reuters: Libya's Tripoli government says 30 migrants killed in revenge attack 

Le Figaro: Libye: pour venger sa mort, la famille d'un passeur tue 30 migrants [Libya: to avenge his death, the family of a smuggler kills 30 migrants] 

 

  • shelling, attributed to General Haftar, in a residential area of Tripoli wounded 3 people including 2 children, according to Anadolu Agency. 

 

Press review 


Times of MaltaThe tragedy of migration - Andrew Azzopardi and Colin Calleja 


Thomson Reuters Foundation - OPINION: Tolerance of trafficking protects Nigeria’s trade in humans, by Aiden McQuade 


Bruxelles 2- Des centaines de migrants retenus au large de Malte dans des prisons flottantes. L’affaire Captain Morgan devient européenne [Hundreds of migrants held off the coast of Malta in floating prisons. Captain Morgan case becomes European]  

27/5-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean 

 

  • Approximately 90 people were rescued by the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) yesterday. According to the AFM, 18 women and nine children were brought ashore in Malta for humanitarian reasons, while the other survivors were transferred to one of the Captain Morgan vessels anchored outside Maltese territorial waters. More than 350 people are now held on the three vessels according to a spokesperson for the Maltese Ministry of Interior. 

Times of MaltaMigrants rescued, taken to Captain Morgan vessels 

Malta TodayMore migrants transferred onto Captain Morgan ships, 'majority' come from 'safe' countries 

 

 

  • While arrivals to Italy have tripled this year in comparison to the same period in 2019, new migration routes are being established, as ARD Germany reports. Instead of departures from Libyan shores, organized largely by militias according to ARD, departures from Tunisia, facilitated by criminal organisations in Tunisia, are becoming more common. According to Luigi Patronaggio, attorney general of the Agrigento region, among those smuggled across this route were both people from sub-Saharan Africa coming through Libya or Egypt as well as Tunisians who were previously deported from Italy. Instead of rubber boats, a lot of these crossings were done on board fishing vessels that were almost impossible to distinguish from other fishing vessels for Frontex and aerial and naval Coast Guard assets. 

Tagesschau"Die Pandemie hat niemanden aufgehalten" [The pandemic didn’t stop anyone] 

 

 

  • Approximately 80 people reached the island of Gran Canaria on board two wooden boats yesterday. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, transfers to mainland Spain are currently blocked. With 1,300 people arriving on the Canary Islands since the beginning of the state of emergency due to the outbreak of COVID–19 in Spain, the islands have reportedly reached their maximum capacity for quarantining survivors. Among those who landed on the islands during this time, 3 cases of COVID–19 were confirmed. On Gran Canaria, new arrivals will be quarantined on board a vessel in the port of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. 

El DiarioLos migrantes llegados en pateras harán la cuarentena en una nave del Puerto de Las Palmas sin pasar por comisaría [Migrants arriving in boats will be quarantined on a ship in the Port of Las Palmas without passing through the police station] 

El DíaSanidad hará PCR a todos los migrantes que lleguen a Canarias 

 

  • El Salto reports on the detention of the Alan Kurdi and Aita Mari, that has lasted for more than 21 days now. Although the technical deficiencies identified in the Port State Control have been rectified, both ships are still held in Palermo, according to the newspaper. The German Ministry of Transportation reportedly disagreed with the safety concerns on the Alan Kurdi voiced by the Italian inspectors. A campaign for the release of the vessels in Germany has gathered more than 4,000 signatures. Salvamento Marítimo Humanitario, the NGO operating the Aita Mari, has asked the Spanish authorities, their flag state, for support. 

El SaltoLos barcos de rescate humanitario exigen a Italia que ponga fin al bloqueo y les permitan zarpar “de inmediato” [Humanitarian rescue ships demand Italy to end the blockade and allow them to sail “immediately”] 

 

  • An inquiry into the potential responsibility of the Maltese Prime Minister and the Armed Forces of Malta for the deaths of at least five people over the Easter weekend was reportedly concluded today. The NGO Republikka that filed the complaint leading to the inquiry has voiced doubts about the speed with which the inquiry was apparently finalised. The final report has not been published yet. 

Times of MaltaInquiry concludes into Prime Minister, army's role in migrant deaths 

 

Press Review 

The GuardianThe Observer view on the failure to secure a global ceasefire during the pandemic 

InfoMigrantsFrance to relocate 750 migrants from Greece 

The New York TimesWe Are Kids Who Remember Only War  

The GuardianGreece ready to welcome tourists as refugees stay locked down in Lesbos 

26/5-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

  • Today, 70 people were rescued by the Guardia di Finanza and disembarked in Lampedusa in the beginning of afternoon. In the end of the day, they were still located at the Favarolo pier where the "first medical examinations and identification procedures [were] underway", according to Giornale di Sicilia. They "will be brought to the hotspot of Imbriacola district", reports Agrigento Notizie.  
     

Giornale di Sicilia: Nuovo sbarco di migranti a Lampedusa, 71 tunisini arrivati al molo Favaloro 

Agrigento Notizie: Continuano gli sbarchi, approdano altri 71 migranti: si alleggerisce l'hotspot 
 
 

  

 

  • Byron Camilleri, Maltese Minister of Interior disputes the Alarm Phone’s claim that survivors onboard Captain Morgan boats are staging a hunger strike. Undated videos, reportedly taken onboard one of the 3 cruise ferry ship hosting survivors and showing rescued people dancing and eating have also been published in several media outlets. While no journalist has been allowed to approach or enter in the boats to independently inform on the situation, Times of Malta reports that the State migrant welfare agency, Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers, has requested access to the three Captain Morgan ships.  

Lovin Malta: WATCH: Migrants Chant Labour Party Anthem Aboard Captain Morgan Ferry Outside Maltese Waters 

Time of Malta: Minister disputes NGO's claims of hunger strike by migrants on Captain Morgan boat 

Malta Today: [WATCH] From tourist ferries to water prisons: AFM keeps press away from Captain Morgan boats 

Time of Malta: State migrant welfare agency requests access to Captain Morgan ships 
 

  • The Italian Senate Immunity Committee rejected the request for authorization to pursue Matteo Salvini in justice on the Open Arms’ case. Matteo Renzi’s party, Italia Viva, decided not to take part in the vote but raised the fact that “many doubts still remain with regard to the Open Arms case”, adding that: “it would have been appropriate for these uncertainties to have been clarified through further preliminary investigation.” The Senate has now to vote on the matter in a plenary session that will have the final word. The date remains to be determined. (For a reminder, Matteo Salvini is accused by the court of Palermo of “kidnapping” following his refusal to allow the disembarkation of more than 80 survivors in August 2019, some of whom had been on board the Open Arms for 19 days.) 

Ansa: Giunta Senato dice no al processo a Salvini. IV non partecipa al voto 

Reuters: Italy Senate panel votes down Salvini probe over stranded migrants  

  • In an interview given to InfoMigrants, UNHCR representative Vincent Cochetel insisted on the need for a European solidarity mechanism to not leave Italy and Malta alone in the management of people rescued in the Central Med. He added however that a limitation to such a mechanism is needed as, according to him, “it is clear that the evacuation system for migrants, particularly in Greece, creates a pull factor.” Regarding Italy and Malta’s current policies, he acknowledges Italian efforts to take in survivors despite the official closure of the port and qualifies Maltese politics as more “complex” referring to Malta’s use of private operators to perform rescues.  

 

  • The request formulated by the Italian cultural and social organization ARCI to suspend the decree establishing that Italian ports are "unsafe" has been rejected by the Lazio regional administrative court (TAR) but the Court scheduled a hearing on the matter for July 20, 2020, “given the intricacy of the topics under examination." 

 

Libya 

  • The journalist Sally Hayden revealed today in the Irish Times that a 39-year-old Erythrean men who attempted to flee Libya via the sea in 2018 died in Zintan detention center (DC) yesterday. Médecins Sans Frontières said the cause seemed to be heatstroke as temperatures reached 42 degrees in the DC. 

Irish Times: Migrant (39) who failed to reach Europe dies in Libyan detention centre 

  • Libya now has 75 confirmed cases of coronavirus. In the same Irish Times report, Sally Hayden mentions that “while the pandemic is not believed to have reached detention centres, restrictions on movement have led to delays in food and other supplies.” 

 

Press review 


L’Unione Sarda - Due barchini, 23 migranti: il racconto degli ultimi sbarchi in Sardegna [Two boats, 23 migrants: the story of the last landings in Sardinia] 


Los Salto - Los barcos de rescate humanitario exigen a Italia que ponga fin al bloqueo y les permitan zarpar “de inmediato”[Humanitarian rescue ships demand that Italy end the blockade and allow them to set sail "immediately"]  


InfoMigrants- Around 400 migrants returned to Libya, 2 dead 


+++ BBC - The boat that disappeared 


Le Point- Libye : des enfants syriens enrôlés dans l'armée de Tripoli [Libya: Syrian children enlisted in Tripoli's army] 


The Guardian - Idlib to Tripoli: Turkey moves to dominate eastern Mediterranean 


Middle East Eye- “Why Europe has lost its relevance in Libya”, by Kristina Kauch  


EFE - Habilitan una nave en el puerto de La Luz para los inmigrantes llegados a Gran Canaria [A ship is set up in the port of La Luz for immigrants arriving in Gran Canaria] 


InfoMigrants- La France va accueillir 750 migrants de Grèce [France to receive 750 migrants from Greece] 

25/5-20

More than 500 people rescued in the Central Mediterranean are currently onboard private ships, awaiting a disembarkation onshore. Almost 300 are currently held outside Maltese territorial waters on three Captain Morgan vessels chartered by the Maltese government, and approximately 214 on the Moby Zazà, the ferry chartered by the Italian authorities to quarantine survivors off Porto Empedocle.  

 

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

 

  • On Friday night, Reuters reported on the rescue of 140 people by the Armed Forces of Malta that day, all transferred onboard a third Captain Morgan tourist ferry boat. 

ReutersMalta rescues 140 migrants but holds them on tourist boats offshore  

Times of Malta - Malta rescues another 140 migrants, charters third tourist boat 

 

 

  • At least one shipwreck occurred off the coast of Tunisia on Saturday, leaving one dead, 6 missing and 11 persons rescued by the Tunisian coastguard. Another 70 people have been rescued from another dinghy by the Tunisian coastguard, AP reported. 

 

  • La Stampa reported that Lampedusa was “emptied of migrants”. All have been transferred to different locations on Friday, some of them were brought to Sicily “to be hosted in first reception facilities” while others embarked on the Moby Zazà  

 

  • According to an Avvenire’s investigation report, the Italian newspaper possesses a video showing Malta’s armed forces pushing people in distress who were already inside Malta’s territorial waters out of Malta and towards Sicily during Easter. According to Avvenire, new elements show that not only one but two boats were pushed away, equipping them with fuel and efficient engines to reach Italian waters for “a total of 178 people in a single day”, constituting what the newspaper calls a “proof of a systematic strategy to remove refugees to Libya by using ghost fishing boats”. The Italian Minister of Interior Lamorgese qualified this behaviour of “absurd” and called the Maltese minister of Interior and the EU Commission on this subject 

 

 

  • On Saturday, contrary to the threat Malta had expressed, the country did not veto the vote that installed Italian Ettore Socci as force commander of the EUNAVFOR operation IRINI; instead it abstained on the vote, reports Malta Today.  

 

Press review 

Malta Today - Libya, not relocation, is only real solution to migration crisis, Robert Abela says 

Malta Today - [WATCH] From tourist ferries to water prisons: AFM keeps press away from Captain Morgan boats 

Associated Press - UN: Libya Coast Guard Intercepts, Detains About 400 Migrants  

Mediterraneo cronaca - The ghost boat has left Lampedusa, Malta deploys the third Captain Morgan 

Just Security - Tents at Sea: How Greek Officials Use Rescue Equipment for Illegal Deportations 

The New-York Times- By Air and Sea, Mercenaries Landed in Libya. Then the Plan Went South. 

InfoMigrants- Italy's 'green corridors' bring back foreign farmworkers 

22/5-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

137 people were rescued by the Italian Coast Guard and Guardia di Finanza from a wooden boat a few miles off Lampedusa on Wednesday night, as journalist Angela Caponnetto and Mediterraneo cronaca reported. The boat had reportedly departed from Sfax, Tunisia. They are currently waiting to be transferred to the quarantine vessel Moby Zazà, which has already arrived near Lampedusa. Together with the 106 people who are currently on board, the Moby Zazà will soon reach its maximum capacity of 285 places.

https://twitter.com/AngiKappa/status/1263194366111342594

http://www.mediterraneocronaca.it/2020/05/22/moby-zaza-per-i-tunisini-quarantena-sorvegliata-a-terra/

Fourteen people of Tunisian nationality were reportedly disembarked from the Moby Zazà to Porto Empedocle, Italy, last night. The group had protested their confinement on the ship all day. They will be taken to another facility, on shore, where they will start a new 14-day quarantine.

http://www.agrigentonotizie.it/cronaca/porto-empedocle-sbarcano-tunisini-proteste-nave-quarantena-partenza-lampedusa.html

Another distress case between Lampedusa and Malta was reported on Wednesday night. MRCC Malta reportedly tasked cargo vessel Maren to search for the boat in distress (but no official information was shared so far). According to journalist Sergio Scandura, a Frontex airplane also circled the area in question. 

https://twitter.com/AngiKappa/status/1263194366111342594 

http://www.mediterraneocronaca.it/2020/05/21/sbarco-a-lampedusa-e-ricerche-con-cargo-da-malta-solito-cliche-video/ 

Alarm Phone received a call from approximately 85 people in distress approximately 6 NM off Zuwarah, Libya this morning. They have since lost contact and have expressed their hope that the people, who reported strong winds and high waves, have returned to shore (seems weird to write that down that way otherwise). 

https://twitter.com/alarm_phone/status/1263751788596953088 

Today, another pregnant woman was reportedly evacuated for medical reasons from the Tremar, Maltese fishing vessel reportedly operating under the command of the Maltese authorities. The woman was evacuated by an Italian Coast Guard vessel. Five days after rescuing approximately 60 people, the boat, which has its AIS switched off, appears to be near Lampedusa. 

http://www.mediterraneocronaca.it/2020/05/22/la-barca-fantasma-e-ancora-vicino-lampedusa-ieri-un-altra-evacuazione-medica-foto-e-video/ 

More information has emerged on the drowning of a man who jumped off quarantine ship Moby Zazà off Porto Empedocle. Prosecutors in Agrigento have opened a probe into the death, an autopsy has been ordered and the finance police will investigate. Italian media outlets report tensions and desperation among the survivors on board. 

Mediterranea, Sea Watch, Open Arms and MSF Italy have issued a statement to the Italian government questioning the legal grounds for the delay of disembarkations when quarantining onshore is a possibility and highlighting the inadequacy of measures adopted in the SAR context during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

https://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/24913/migrant-drowns-after-jumping-off-quarantine-ship 

http://www.vita.it/it/article/2020/05/21/fateci-scendere-la-rivolta-dei-migranti-a-bordo-della-nave-quarantena/155568/ 

https://twitter.com/openarms_it/status/1263151017836851201 

The Armed Forces of Malta have denied allegations of putting the lives of people on a rubber boat at risk instead of rescuing them on April 12. Survivors of the incident reported to Alarm Phone that the AFM first tried forcing them to return to Libya, putting their lives at risk by making maneuvering dangerously close to them, before equipping the rubber boat and instructing the people on board to continue towards Pozzallo, Italy. The AFM have called the allegations “false and unfounded” and accused NGOs (unspecified) of making these allegations by means of paid adverts on social media. The Maltese government did not comment on the allegations against their Armed Forces. 

https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/102480/armed_forces_refuses_to_disclose_details_of_denied_rescue_to_pozzallo_migrants#.Xsev2hMzbOR 

The IOM and UNHCR have issued a joint press release to urge Malta and other European states to disembark the survivors off the Captain Morgan cruise vessels outside Maltese territorial waters. A relocation of 17 people from Malta to France on Wednesday shows, according to the agencies, that “solidarity at the time of COVID-19 is possible”. The press release was picked up in several international media outlets. 

https://www.iom.int/news/iom-unhcr-urge-european-states-disembark-rescued-migrants-and-refugees-board-captain-morgan 

https://www.ouest-france.fr/monde/migrants/l-onu-exhorte-les-pays-europeens-debarquer-160-migrants-bloques-en-mediterranee-6842265 

Protesters in Malta have also urged the government to facilitate the disembarkation of the people onboard the Captain Morgan ferries without further delay. On Wednesday, more than 30 NGOs have issued a joint letter calling on the Maltese government to disembark the survivors, who have reportedly entered a hunger strike. The signatories of the letter are voicing concerns that the physical and mental health of those stuck on the Captain Morgan vessels, some of them since more than 3 weeks, will deteriorate fast. Human Rights Watch also spoke out on the matter today. “We believe the 160 people on board tourist cruise boats on the high sea are experiencing severe emotional and physical distress”, says Judith Sunderland, acting deputy Europe and Central Asia director. 

https://lovinmalta.com/news/socially-distant-demonstrators-call-for-malta-to-take-in-captain-morgan-migrants-after-hunger-strike-reports/ 

https://aditus.org.mt/the-ill-treatment-aboard-the-captain-morgan-ships-must-be-stopped-at-once/ 

https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/05/22/malta-disembark-rescued-people 

Maltese Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo has turned to the EU in a video message on Facebook yesterday, calling on member states to show solidarity by sharing the responsibility for migrants in Malta. 

https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/102493/watch_malta_will_not_become_crisis_centre_for_migrants_foreign_minister_tells_eu?fbclid=IwAR1N9Cnem3QYc7weVZrp7TTvWbTXulUi0ABEJtdlHowfJr10GwXZAy2bkCE#.XseP2RMzbOT 

The Spanish Coast Guard rescued 35 people off the coast of Gran Canaria on Wednesday. It is the fourth rescue in six days, according to Spanish news agency EFE. With accommodation places to quarantine the survivors getting sparse, the local government on Gran Canaria has freed up sports centers. 

According to EFE, the Moroccan Navy rescued a rubber boat with 41 people of sub-Saharan origin in distress off the Moroccan coast on Wednesday. 

https://www.laprovincia.es/sucesos/2020/05/21/cuarta-patera-seis-dias-eleva/1284419.html 

Two boats carrying a total of 67 survivors arrived on Lesvos, Greece, yesterday. The survivors are from different African countries, Afghanistan and Syria. 173 people have reached Lesvos since the beginning of May. 

https://www.ekathimerini.com/252941/article/ekathimerini/news/67-migrants-land-on-island-of-lesvos  

 

Libya 

 

Self-styled General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) has announced on Wednesday that it was withdrawing from Tripoli by 2 to 3 kilometers to ease conditions for residents at the end of Ramadan. Al Jazeera notes that the withdrawal comes after the loss of strategic Al Watiya airbase, the LNA’s only airbase near Tripoli. 

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/libya-haftar-lna-pulling-tripoli-front-lines-200520180907058.html

Both LNA and GNA claim that Russia has deployed warplanes to al-Jufra airbase in central Libya to support Haftar’s LNA. Six fighter jets and two attack jets were reportedly transferred to al-Jufra. UN officials are reportedly investigating the allegations. According to a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Turkish Minister of Foreign affairs and his Russian counterpart said they backed a ceasefire in a phone call on Thursday. However, the Turkish foreign ministry issued a statement warning of ‘grave consequences’ if Haftar were to attack Turkish interests in Libya. 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/sebastienroblin/2020/05/21/russia-allegedly-sends-warplanes-to-libya-after-local-proxy-loses-key-airbase/

https://www.ft.com/content/ad6d1bea-a1a4-4ca4-ae6f-253d2679bc5c 

 

Press review 

 

InternazionaleUn morto senza nome è il simbolo della nuova frontiera europea [A nameless dead is the symbol of the new European border] 

The New HumanitarianBriefing: In search of a more humane EU migration and asylum policy 

BBCSOS from the Mediterranean (Audio documentary) 

The Washington PostLibya’s Gen. Hifter declared military rule last month. That hasn’t happened. 

The New York Times: In Stunning Reversal, Turkey Emerges as Libya Kingmaker 

Al Jazeera'Grave consequences': Turkey warns Libya's Haftar against attacks 

RFIMigrant boat crossings to UK surge during virus lockdown 

20/5-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

This morning, one of the survivors quarantined onboard the Moby Zazà, anchored off Porto Empedocle, Sicily, reportedly drowned. It is unclear at this point whether the man, a Tunisian, was trying to reach the shore swimming. The Agrigento Public Prosecutor's Office instructed the Guardia di Finanza to take charge of an investigation on this event (Repubblica: Migrante si getta in mare dalla Moby Zazà: morto). 

Last night, a 32-year-old woman was evacuated by an Italian Coast Guard vessel from the Moby Zazà for health reasons.  

Mediterraneo cronacaTragedia sulla Moby Zazà, migrante si tuffa in mare e muore 

Agrigento notizieEvacuazione medica dalla "Moby Zazà", operazione complicata per la guardia costiera: ecco le immagini 

According to MaltaToday, Malta is threatening to veto the appointment of Operation Irini’s Commander-in-Chief unless more EU country step up in the relocation of the survivors currently hosted onboard the Captain Morgan vessels outside Maltese territorial waters. The only country that has committed to taking in survivors so far is France, accepting 30 of the survivors currently onboard the Atlantis and the Europa II. 

MaltaTodayMalta gives ultimatum to EU with threat to veto Irini commander-in-chief choice 

AlarmPhone reports that on April 11, the Maltese Armed Forces (AFM) facilitated the arrival of 101 people onboard a rubber dinghy in Pozzallo. The AFM reportedly approached a rubber dinghy that was close to reaching Malta and tried to make the 101 people return to Libya after distributing life jackets. When the people onboard the rubber boat refused, the AFM provided them with an engine, fuel and GPS coordinates so that they could travel onward to Pozzallo, where they arrived on April 12. Italian newspaper Avvenire and The Guardian also report the story. There is no official confirmation yet. 

AlarmPhonehttps://twitter.com/alarm_phone/status/1262993717117452288 

The Guardian: 'We give you 30 minutes': Malta turns migrant boat away with directions to Italy 

AvvenireMalta respinge i barconi e li dirotta verso Libia e Italia. Ecco le prove 

Relatives of two of the twelve people who died on Easter weekend last month have filed a judicial protest against the Maltese Prime Minister, Home Affairs Minister and Armed Forces Commander. The brother and sister of two men claim that the death of the brothers is a result of the failure of the Maltese authorities to fulfill their obligations under international law to ensure the timely rescue on the people in distress. They demand payment of damages, reserving the right to take legal action at local and international level. The NGO Repubblika also filed a note into the criminal inquiry into the operations by the Armed Forces, bringing to the attention of the Magistrate carrying out the inquiry footage of the operation published by The Guardian. 

Times of MaltaRelatives hold Malta responsible for migrants' death, demand payment of damages 

The Maltese government has issued a press release criticizing the lack of relocation pledges by EU member states. Out of the 3,405 people who reached Malta in 2019, relocation pledges were only made for 610. 

So far this year, only 2 countries have agreed to relocate people from Malta, with Portugal offering to take in 6 and France offering to take in 30 of the 1,222 people who reached Malta so far this year.

Press Release

Times of MaltaJust two EU member states have offered to relocate migrants this year 

Libya 

On Tuesday, the Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya, Stephanie Williams, warned the UN Security Council about an “alarming military build-up" in Libya. As foreign intervention grows and the COVID–19 pandemic increases the general sense of insecurity, the civil war is in danger of intensifying. She urged the members of the Security Council to apply pressure and the regional and international actors fuelling the conflict. 

UN News'Alarming’ military build-up underway in Libya, as COVID-19 heightens insecurity 

Three new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Libya today, raising the total number of cases to 65. 

Libya HeraldLibya announces 3 new cases of Coronavirus and 7 new recoveries 

 
Press review 

RTSLe Journal de 7h - Présenté par Olivier Schorderet (interview with Frédéric Penard, starting at 6’30’’) 

RTS: Le coronavirus ne dissuade pas les migrants de rejoindre l'Europe: interview de Vincent Cochetel

The GuardianWar in Libya: how did it start, who is involved and what happens next? 

European Council on Foreign RelationsIt’s Turkey’s Libya now 

19/5-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean

The Guardian published an article about the private ships allegedly commissioned by Malta for interceptions and push backs to Libya. One of the survivors detailed to the Guardian how 12 people lost their lives between April 9, when the dinghy left from Garabulli, Libya, and April 16, when the remaining survivors were disembarked in Tripoli after being intercepted by the Dar Al Salam 1 on April 14. A criminal inquiry against the Maltese government is pending in Malta. 

The GuardianExclusive: 12 die as Malta uses private ships to push migrants back to Libya 

According to the Spanish Coast Guard, a dinghy with about thirty people of North African origin reached the coast of Almería on Monday. Spanish newspaper teleprensa reports that a total of 95 people travelling on board several boats were also rescued yesterday in the Alboran Sea. 

TeleprensaLlega a las playas de El Ejido una patera con una treintena de magrebíes a bordo 

AlarmPhone reports that people stuck on one of the Captain Morgan vessels (tourist vessels chartered by the Maltese government to host survivors) outside Maltese territorial waters have reached out to them mentioning they entered a hunger strike to protest the conditions onboard the ship, including a lack of healthcare and food. According to AlarmPhone, there have been suicide attempts among the survivors. 

Times of MaltaMigrants aboard Captain Morgan boat are on hunger strike - NGO 

 

Libya

According to DPA, Germany has approved arms exports worth 331 Million Euros to countries involved in the war in Libya since hosting a summit on Libya four months ago. Despite supporting the arms embargo for Libya, the German government has approved arms sales to Egypt, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, who are accused of supporting warring parties in Libya. 

Deutsche WelleGermany exports millions in arms to Libya war belligerents, despite embargo 

 

Press review

BloombergCoronavirus Is Proving Lucrative for Some People Traffickers 

18/5-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean

 

There is some confusion and a lack of information about SAR events this weekend. Italian news agency ANSA has reported a rescue of 50 people approx. 18 NM off Lampedusa, while Maltese media report a rescue of around 70 people. It is unclear at this point whether two separate operations took place or whether there is a discrepancy in reporting about the same operation. 

Malta and Italy are currently reported to be in disagreement over who should facilitate the disembarkation of the people who were rescued Sunday morning south of Lampedusa. According to MaltaToday, the Maltese fishing vessel Tremar has conducted the rescue operation and is believed to be one of the private fishing vessels commissioned by the Maltese government to carry out interceptions. The rescue operation was reportedly coordinated by the Maltese RCC, who then ordered the vessel to disembark the survivors in Lampedusa. The current position of the Tremar is unknown, the ship’s transponder was reportedly switched off. 

News agency ANSA reported today that a heavily pregnant woman and her husband were medically evacuated from the (or one of the two) fishing vessel(s) about 18 NM off Lampedusa. The couple was taken to the Pelagie island onboard a patrol vessel, from where the woman was flown to a hospital in Palermo via helicopter. 

Times of MaltaFresh standoff betwen Malta and Italy over rescued migrants 

MaltaTodayMalta, Italy standoff over fishing vessel that rescued migrants off Lampedusa 

Mediterraneo cronacaAltre 50 persone inghiottite dal buco nero del Mediterraneo 

Agrigento notizieMigranti soccorsi da un peschereccio, evacuazione medica per donna incinta 

On Saturday, 68 people reached Lampedusa autonomously. They were transferred for quarantine on board the Italian ferry Moby Zazà on Sunday. The ship, which also embarked another group of 53 people who arrived autonomously in Lampedusa last week (according to Italian journalist Sergio Scandura: https://twitter.com/scandura/status/1262036185934958592 ) will not stay near Lampedusa but go back to Porto Empedocle, reportedly because of logistical challenges pertaining to supplies and waste management. 

Giornale di SiciliaLa nave quarantena imbarca 68 migranti ma non resterà a Lampedusa 

Mediterraneo cronaca and journalist Sergio Scandura criticize the increased silence around SAR, distress cases and shipwrecks in the Mediterranean, with almost no information provided by official sources and agencies. Scandura and Paleologo from Mediterraneo cronaca also raise the question about the actual number of distress cases over the weekend, which yet remains unclear.  

Mediterraneo cronacaScomparsi nel mare della disinformazione: come il triangolo delle Bermude a sud di Lampedusa? 

87 people were rescued off the Canary Islands by the Spanish Coast Guard over the weekend. 38 were rescued off Fuerteventura in the early hours of Saturday morning and 49 were rescued off Gran Canaria on Sunday, as Spanish authorities reported. The Spanish Red Cross tested the 49 people who disembarked on Gran Canaria for COVID–19. They will be quarantined for 14 days. Reuters and AFP report a surge in arrivals to Spain in recent months: 1,781 people reportedly arrived on the Canaries between January 1 and April 15, compared to 181 over the same period in 2019. 

InfoMigrants87 migrants rescued off the Canary Islands

Greek navy ship Hydra (F-452) has left the navy base in Salamis to be made available for operation Irini. The Hydra will only be operational at the end of May. 

Bruxelles 2La frégate grecque rejoindra l’opération Irini fin mai 

 

Libya 

According to Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), 7 people were killed and at least 17 wounded in a shelter for displaced persons in Tripoli when the facility was shelled by Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA).  

Al JazeeraGNA: Haftar forces shelling kills 7 at displaced people's shelter 

The GNA has reportedly recaptured the strategic al-Watiya airbase near the Tunisian border in what The Guardian calls a “major blow” to General Haftar, who does not control any airbase in Western Libya now. 

Al JazeeraLibya's GNA recaptures strategic al-Watiya airbase 

The GuardianUN-backed Libyan forces take key airbase from rebel general 

 

Press review

MaltaTodayNGOs write to EU Commissioner for intervention on Captain Morgan migrants 

Nice Matin (AFP)"Je ne veux pas mourir" VS "Le lieu le plus sûr"... La torture psychologique pour les équipages des bateaux de croisières confinés en mer 

BBC NewsCoronavirus: Are Italians losing faith in the EU?

BBC NewsLetter from Africa: Spare a thought for stranded migrants

15/5-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

The 53 people who arrived in Lampedusa autonomously on Tuesday night left for Sicily on a regular ferry this morning to board the Moby Zaza for a 14-day quarantine. According to Mediterraneo cronaca, the 53 people spent the first night after their arrival at Favarolo pier in strong winds before being temporarily transferred to an accommodation provided by the church. The newspaper criticizes the costly makeshift solution of quarantine on a chartered ship for survivors who have already passed through two temporary “accommodations” and a transfer by ferry. 

Mediterraneo cronacaPartiti con nave traghetto i migranti di Lampedusa, Moby Zaza ferma in porto 

Malta has reportedly chartered a third cruise ferry from the Captain Morgan company, the Atlantis. This larger vessel, which left Malta yesterday, is to host the survivors that have been in quarantine on the Bahari after being rescued by the Maltese Armed Forces last week. 

Times of MaltaLarger Captain Morgan ferry deployed for rescued migrants 

  

Press review 

  +++ SOS MEDITERRANEE mention +++ Video: “Les migrants, grands oubliés du Covid-19” Le Temps interview with Frédéric Penard  

MaltaTodayMercenaries backing Haftar used RHIBs supplied by Malta arms dealer, UN report says 

Le MondeAlors que les arrivées de migrants sont à leur plus bas niveau, des accusations de refoulements illégaux se multiplient [While arrivals of migrants are at their lowest, accusations of illegal pushbacks multiply]

MaltaTodayCaptain Morgan's Atlantis replaces Bahari in housing migrants outside territorial waters 

RaiNewsLibia, ancora razzi su civili. Di Maio in Commissione: "Stop a armi e ingerenze esterne" [Libya, more rockets on civilians. Di Maio in Commission: "Stop weapons and external interference”] 

InfoMigrantsMer Méditerranée : la crainte des "naufrages invisibles" [Mediterranean: Fear of “invisible shipwrecks”] 

Mediterraneo cronacaContraddizioni agenzie ONU tra soccorso in mare e SAR alla Libia [UN agency contradictions between sea rescue and SAR to Libya] 

BBC News: Coping with coronavirus in a war zone 

14/5-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

The 53 people who reached Lampedusa autonomously in two dinghies on Tuesday night will be the first to be quarantined on the “Moby Zaza”. According to Italian media, the survivors will embark on Italian Coast Guard and Guardia di Finanza vessels and transshipped to the Moby Zaza near Porto Empedocle between this afternoon and tomorrow morning. The ship will anchor 2 to 3 NM off the coast during the time of the quarantine. According to il Sicilia, an Italian Red Cross team will also be on board. 

il SiciliaCoronavirus: pronta nave quarantena per Lampedusa, migrant imbarcati entro domani 

The Italian government has agreed on a legalization program that will allow thousands of undocumented workers to apply to temporarily stay and work in Italy under an amnesty. Employers who have irregularly hired workers in the agricultural sector or for domestic work will be able to regulate their staff. Human rights groups have criticized that the amnesty is only temporary (6 months) and the situation of the workers remains unclear once the permit is over. 

Al JazeeraThousands of undocumented migrants to get Italian work permits 

  

Libya 

At least 14 people were injured in attacks on a hospital and residential areas in Tripoli. The UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) blamed the attack on rival forces from the East of the country, led by Khalifa Haftar. 

Al JazeeraLibya: Tripoli hospital attacked by ‘Haftar’s missiles’ 

Several UN agencies (OCHA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNFPA, WFP, WHO, IOM) have issued a joint Press Release yesterday warning against the threat of conflict and the COVID–19 pandemic in Libya. They emphasized that the situation is especially alarming for many migrants and refugees. While more than 3200 people have been intercepted at sea and returned to Libya, the United Nations reiterate that Libya is not a safe port and people should not be returned to arbitrary detention. 

IOMConflict and the COVID-19 Pandemic Present a Significant Threat to Life in Libya 

  

Press review 

  +++ SOS MEDITERRANEE mention +++ Le Figaro: Migrants: en Méditerranée, la crainte d’une hécatombe “a l’abri des regards” [Fear of mass casualties “out of sight” in the Mediterranean] 

13/5-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

According to various Italian media, two boats reached Lampedusa autonomously last night in deteriorating weather conditions. A boat with 10 Tunisians reportedly departed from Tunisia, while the second boat, carrying 43 people from sub-Saharan Africa, departed from Zawiyah, Libya. The ship that was supposed to host people for quarantine upon arrival, the “Moby Zaza”, was not available. She generally cannot enter the port of Lampedusa due to her size and a transshipment from a Coast Guard vessel might not have been possible due to bad weather even if the ship had been present, according to Mediterraneo cronaca. The 53 people will spend the first 24 hours of isolation on the Favarolo pier.

Mediterraneo cronacaDoppio sbarco autonomo a Lampedusa e niente “nave hotspot”, ancora notti all’addiaccio 

Researcher Maurice Stierl argues that Italy and Malta declaring their ports unsafe should not be viewed as an exceptional emergency measure but as part of an ongoing European effort to deter migration. In spite of EU member states and agencies arguing over responsibilities, his argument is that Europe is largely united in its efforts to militarize its border and turning Europe into “a hostile environment for migrants seeking protection”. 

The ConversationMigration: how Europe is using coronavirus to reinforce its hostile environment in the Mediterranean 

EU High Representative Josep Borrell has insisted that stopping Operation Irini was not a solution, even after Malta’s withdrawal. He expressed his hopes that the Maltese veto of EU funds for the naval operation will be lifted in the next days. According to MaltaToday, Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela has told aides that he will not change his position on Operation Irini. 

According to AFP, Italy and Greece will provide naval assets to the mission, along with the French navy ship Jean Bart and aerial assets. 

MaltaTodayEU foreign minister plays down Malta deal on Irini withdrawal 

Le FigaroLibye: L’UE en mesure de bloquer les livraisons d’armes par la mer 

  

Libya 

Yesterday, Germany and Estonia, both currently non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, submitted a resolution to the Security Council on a ceasefire in various conflicts, including Libya, during the COVID–19 pandemic. The proposal came as a replacement of a draft by France and Tunisia that the United State has blocked, reportedly because it mentioned the WHO. If none of the permanent Security Council members threatens to veto, the resolution could be voted on soon. 

France24: New resolution on immediate global ceasefire presented to UN Security Council 

  

Press review 

ReutersPortugal to take in 500 unaccompanied migrant children from Greek camps 

InfoMigrantsFirst cases of coronavirus among migrants on Lesbos 

The NationalBy shutting its ports, Europe is letting desperate migrants die at sea (by MSF President Christos Christou) 

AvvenireL'Onu accusa le autorità libiche: abusi e traffico di persone [UN accuses Libyan authorities of abuse and people trafficking]

12/5-20

SAR/Political Context in the Mediterranean

In a Press Release, the IOM has voiced concerns about “invisible shipwrecks” while measures taken by governments in response to COVID–19 include port closures, delays in disembarkation and a reduced presence of search and rescue assets. With the numbers of boats on the Central Mediterranean route is increasing, the absence of dedicated state and NGO-led SAR operations makes it difficult for the IOM to collect accurate data. The organization’s concern is that more shipwrecks might occur or have occurred unnoticed by the international community.

IOM: COVID-19 Control Measures, Gap in SaR Capacity Increases Concern About ‘Invisible Shipwrecks’

Activist Marc Tilley has written a commentary on the events of the Easter Weekend (10-12 April) for the NGO Human Rights at Sea. 

Human Rights at SeaMediterranean Migrant Crisis: A Review of the Easter Weekend 10-12 April 2020 

The Belgian newspaper La Libre Belgique reports on the case of the push-back of 51 people to Libya from the Maltese SRR on 14 April. The article mentions that in reaction to the letter by the Council of Europe to Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela, the "European executive” (not mentioning who exactly) stated on Monday that the principle of non-refoulement, enshrined in international and European law, did not apply to sea rescue, which is a national obligation of EU member states. (PDF attached, French) 

In line with previous articles from Malta Today, according to French newspaper La Croix, the Maltese withdrawal from Operation Irini is a move to appease Turkey, its principal arms supplier, and the Tripoli-based Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), that is largely supported by Turkey: the Irini mission would target the GNA disproportionately, since the rivalling Misrata-based Libyan National Army (LNA) receives arms from the United Arab Emirates by air or land, while the GNA has so far received arms from Turkey by sea. 

The European Asylum Support Office (EASO) based in Valletta, Malta, has estimated that the COVID–19 pandemic could cause instability in the Middle East and North Africa and thereby lead to “increases in asylum-related migration” in the mid-term. 

ReutersCoronavirus may push more asylum seekers to EU, agency says 

  

Libya 

The UN-backed GNA launched a counterattack against one of the LNA’s military bases on Sunday, after a missile barrage killed at least six civilians in residential areas around Tripoli’s main airport on Saturday (see yesterday’s Context Update). According to military sources, the military camp targeted by the GNA is run and protected by Russian mercenaries belonging to the Wagner group. Turkey has threatened to step up its attacks against the LNA, calling the attacks on embassies and the Tripoli airport war crimes. 

Al JazeeraLibya's GNA launches counterattack after deadly rocket barrage 

See also: Deutsche WelleTurkey warns Libya’s Haftar of military escalation 

In a statement issued Monday night, the foreign ministers of Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, France and the United Arab Emirates have denounced Turkey’s activities in the Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone in the Eastern Mediterranean and its involvement in Libya, urging the government in Ankara to respect the UN arms embargo and stop the influx of foreign fighters from Syria to Libya. The Turkish Foreign Ministry reacted late last night by accusing the group of states of seeking regional chaos and instability. 

Greek City Times: Greece, Egypt, Cyprus, France & UAE denounce Turkey in joint statement 

Hürriyet Daily NewsTurkey slams joint statement by five nations on east Med Sea, Libya 

  

Press review 

IOMCOVID-19 Control Measures, Gap in SaR Capacity Increases Concern About ‘Invisible Shipwrecks’

La RepubblicaContrabbando di sigarette e Cialis a bordo della nave della Marina: 6 militari arrestati [Cigarette smuggling and Cialis on board the Navy ship: 6 soldiers arrested] 

11/5-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  

 

 

 

  • The UN Commission for Human Rights published a note, on Friday, calling for a moratorium on all interceptions and returns to Libya. In the note, the commission confirms the involvement of Maltese authorities in the forced return to Libya the week after the Easter weekend. 
  • Today, the Commissioner for Human Rights urged Malta to “meet its obligations to save lives at sea, ensure prompt and safe disembarkation, and investigate allegations of delay or non-response to situations of distress”. In the letter addressed to Prime Minister Robert Abela, Dunja Mijatović said “the COVID-19 pandemic cannot negate clear obligations to save lives at sea and to ensure prompt and safe disembarkation.” Noting that Libya cannot be considered a Place of Safety, the Commissioner also called on “Malta’s government to refrain from any action that would result in the return to and disembarkation in Libya of people rescued or intercepted at sea”.  
  • The Maltese Prime minister answered that “Malta is facing unprecedented migratory pressures”. As reported by the Times of Malta, Abela is pressing the fact that “Malta needs concrete support and action, particularly by way of relocation of migrants”, adding: "I eagerly await your feedback on an effective concrete plan of action to ensure proper burden-sharing by all Council of Europe member states. Malta believes in a comprehensive approach towards providing concrete solutions to the complexity and challenges of migration at sea." 

 

 

  • Malta reportedly officially withdrew from Operation Irini, last Friday. According to Malta Today, “the move is a sop to Turkey, which is actively providing weapons to the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) by sea, in the hope that it will lead to the GNA coming down hard on human traffickers sending out migrants on boat through the Central Mediterranean route.” 

 

 

Libya  

  •  According to IOM, the 25 survivors that were brought back to Tripoli, while the main port was being shelled last Thursday, were taken to a detention facility to which IOM does not have access. The organization adds that they “raised the alarm over hundreds of disappearances from this facility over the past months”.   

 

Press review  


Malta Today - Neville Gafà claims migration problem 'exploded' after his interventions in Libya ceased  

La Reppublika (via Truth be told)– (Statement) Migration: silence is not an option   

Malta Today - Malta rattles EU with Irini withdrawal, Macron and Merkel schedule calls 

Mediterraneo Cronaca - Inhuman detentions and collective rejections in the shadow of the coronavirus 

EuroNews-  Opinion: Before coronavirus, Europe lacked empathy for migrants. The pandemic can teach us compassion, by Matteo De Bellis (researcher for Amnesty International) 

 FranceTVinfo -  (Video) Coronavirus : les migrants durement touchés en Libye [Coronavirus: migrants badly hit in Libya] 

The Morning Star- Battle continues to rage in Libya in so-called ‘proxy war’ 

Der Spiegel International - The Killing of a Migrant at the Greek-Turkish Border 

Ansa (via Infomigrants) - Funding boost for islands lifting refugee 'burden' in Greece 

Ansa (via Infomigrants) - Not just migrant disembarkations, Balkan route resumes 

 

7/5-20

Following these past days with numerous SAR operations conducted in the Italian and Maltese SRRs and still no Place of Safety designated for the rescued people, here is a summary of the situation:  


By the time we send this context update, there are 241 rescued people stranded at sea onboard 3 private ships. Off Maltese coasts, there are 57 people on board the Europa II and 105 on a second Captain Morgan vessel, the Baħari. Off Lampedusa, there are 79 people on board the MV Marina

 

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  

 

 

 

  • The 79 rescued people stranded onboard the MV Marina since last Sunday (May 3rd), remain outside Italian territorial waters, off the coast of Lampedusa, awaiting a port of disembarkation. No new information was found about their situation today; as for the 57 survivors stranded onboard the Europa II since last Thursday (April 30th).  

 

 

 

 

Libya  

 

 

 

 

Press review  


Ansa (via Infomigrants) - Italy: Detainee rights guarantor says situation unsustainable 


Mediterraneo Cronaca - Lampedusa, libero il molo militare: trasferiti ultimi 86 migranti. [Lampedusa, military dock is free: last 86 migrants transferred] 


Le Marin (article attached) - Migrants : situation explosive à bord d’un porte-conteneurs [Migrants: explosive situation on board a container ship] 


Mer et Marine - Nouvel afflux de migrants à Lampedusa [New influx of migrants to Lampedusa] 


Migrant Rescue Watch - Tunisian Maritime Guard on Kerkennah Islands thwarted a boat with 44 ppl onbard 


Ekathimerini - Coast guard stops migrant arrivals by sea  


Newsy - How One Greek Island Reveals Europe's Far-Right Nationalist Network 


Vaucluse Matin (article attached) – Les oubliés du confinement [The forgotten of the lockdown] (Quote from Sophie Beau) 

L’Humanité (article attached) - Migrants : comment les partisans de l’Europe forteresse tirent parti de la lutte contre la pandémie [Migrants: how supporters of fortress Europe benefit from the fight against the pandemic] 

 

6/5-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  

 

  • Following an inspection conducted yesterday, the Italian coastguard grounded the Alan Kurdi at the port of Palermo, after identifying "several irregularities."  On a tweet, Sea Eye stated that “the reason for this should be security concerns that even the German flag state does not share.” According to the German press agency DPA, Sea-Eye also said this decision “would prevent a resumption of its rescue activities for the rest of May”, adding that they would "cooperate with German and Italian authorities”, and said the above mentioned “irregularities” are "technically solvable." According to the Italian coastguard quoted in the article, the irregularities were "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 recovered on board”, adding that “The [German] flag state of the vessel, would have to intervene to ensure the ship is in compliance with international and national maritime and waste disposals laws”.  
  • Italian newspapers La Repubblica and La Sicilia reported an autonomous arrival of allegedly 50 people, which occurred last night or early this morning on the south-western coast at Torre Salsa nature reserve. 29 people have so far been found by the police. The search for more people seems to be still ongoing. Authorities believe that the boat came from Tunisia, according to La Repubblica. The newspaper adds that "there have been about 700 migrants arriving during the lockdown period, with more than half arriving in the first few days of May." 
     
  • The tension onboard MV Marina seems to be increasing. A knife fight, with no casualties, has been reported by the lawyer of the shipowner, according to The Times of Malta. The lawyer added that “Malta was informed on Monday that six migrants had been taken ill, a helicopter was being sent but the decision revoked when it was informed that “none were in danger of dying”.” 
  • According to La Repubblica, yesterday, the Italian Interior Minister, Luciana Lamorgese, called the mayor of Lampedusa, Totò Martello, following his call for a ship able to quarantine survivors off the island, to announce that the procedure to assign a vessel is ongoing.  

 

Press review  


BMC (also attached) - Research: Health status of rescued people by the NGO Open Arms in response to the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean Sea 

Expresso - Migrações. Ilha italiana de Lampedusa em emergência com chegada de 300 migrantes [Migrations. Italian island of Lampedusa in emergency with 300 migrants arriving] 

RND - Deutsches Schiff sitzt nach Rettungsauftrag auf Mittelmeer fest [German ship stuck on Mediterranean after rescue order] 

Libya Herald - New Coronavirus case brings Libya’s total to 64 

Africa up close - Why Libya Will Struggle to Fight Coronavirus 

Naval News - Russia Builds Up Mediterranean Naval Force  

Ansa (via Infomigrants)Gambia: Returnees produce protective equipment for border officials 

Ouest France - Point de vue : « Pourquoi de jeunes adolescents partent d’Afrique subsaharienne ?» [Point of view: "Why are young adolescents leaving sub-Saharan Africa? »] 

Efsyn - Σε καραντίνα 51 πρόσφυγες και μετανάστες που έφτασαν ξημερώματα στη Λέσβο [51 refugees arrived on Lesvos this morning] 

5/5-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  

 

  • Regarding the 78 survivors onboard the Marina, according to the ship’s lawyer, Ann Fenech, this weekend the ship was diverted by the Maltese RCC to search for the boat in distress. After the rescue was completed, the master asked RCC Malta for instructions on the disembarkation but none were forthcoming. As the vessel was standing by, she drifted towards Lampedusa and asked the Port of Lampedusa for permission to disembark the survivors. Lampedusa refused entry and advised the master that it is the Malta RCC which is responsibleYesterday, the lawyer described a “very difficult” situation onboard: “They do not have enough food and water to get them past the next 24 hours and six of the migrants require urgent medical attention. Neither do the crew have sufficient personal protective equipment for the migrants”.  

 

 

 

 

  • Mediterraneo Cronaca observes that a ship may not be enough of a solution: “As required by the notice of the Ministry, the ship in question, still unknown, would have 250 places maximum. Even if a ship was already in front of the port of Lampedusa, only few places would be left on board and it would be necessary to proceed with another contract award. (…) Between Saturday and Monday, in just three days, 254 migrants arrived in Lampedusa.” 

 

 

  • Sea Watch sent a letter to the Italian Guarantor of the detained persons’ rights on the conditions of the survivors who arrived in Lampedusa during the COVIDー19 pandemic, shortly before the institution published a report in which it expresses that it is “sharing the need both for urgent intervention at local level and for a more far-reaching strategic hypothesis regarding the management of reception in places and spaces able to guarantee full respect for dignity among people - has once again assured the Ministry of the Interior of its willingness to cooperate to find less problematic solutions for all the actors involved (migrants, islanders, operators, Police Forces) once the unsustainability of the present situation has been recognized.” 

 

 

Press review  


Times of Malta Migrants not safe in Libya, expert warns 

The New York Times (AP dispatch) - Rescued Migrants Stranded at Sea, Not Allowed to Any EU Port 

Open Democracy - A Libya story: pandemic and human rights in times of conflict 

United Nations’ Security council - (Video) International Criminal Court and Libya - Security Council Open  

Open MigrationMigrants in Libya, trapped between war and Covid-19 

Council of Europe New Guidelines on Protecting NGO Work in Support of Refugees and Migrants 

29/4-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  

 

 

In the meantime: the italian journalist from Radio Radicale, Sergio Scandura, reported 4 aircrafts flying over the Central Mediterranean this morning : 2 from Frontex, 1 from the Armed Forces of Malta and 1 from Operation Irini ; and Alarm Phone tweeted that the fishing vessel “Mae Yemenja“, – who has allegedly conducted a push back of approx. 50 people and 12 dead or missing to Libya during the Easter week (see Avvenire’ articles in last week’s context updates) –, may be on her way to the boat in distress they were alerted to. Times of Malta reported they were looking for other sources on the matter this morning. No new information has been reported/verified on this case since this morning, to our knowledge. 

 

Libya  

  • A military hospital and a field hospital in Tripoli “were attacked by Haftar forces” according to the Turkish press agency Anadolu Agency. One person is reported to have been killed and 6 others were injured in the rocket attack against the military hospital. The field hospital located on a road to the airport in southern Tripoli, suffered “enormous damage on the hospital and ambulances”, according to a statement by the press center of the GNA-led Operation Volcano of Rage.  

 

  • East Libya has expelled 1,400 refugees and migrants this year, according to a U.N. rights office declaration reported by Reuters. Jeremy Laurence, spokesman for the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, added that they have been “sent to Sudan, Niger, Chad and Somalia and were deported without access to legal assistance or other services required to ensure their protection”.  

 

 

Press review  

Times of Malta The faces and names of a migration tragedy 

Infomigrants - Fewer asylum cases granted in EU in 2019 

NPR Italy Considers Permits For Undocumented Migrants To Fill A Big Farmworker Gap 
Le Figaro - Espagne: Un bébé naît pendant le sauvetage de migrants au large des Canaries [Spain: A baby is born during a rescue operation off the Canary Islands] 

Le Monde- En Guinée, la solitude des familles de migrants disparus en mer et oubliés des médias [In Guinea, the loneliness of the families of migrants missing at sea and forgotten by the media] 

28/4-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  

 

 

  • This morning, a hundred people, including 44 women, arrived autonomously in Lampedusa. According to the Mayor of the island: “no military vehicle has been willing to accompany the migrants from the dock to the Favaloro pier, from where they must be transferred since the hotspot is already full (…).” as reported by   Mediterraneo Cronaca.
     
  • Frontex released its annual Risk Analysis for 2020 about "the European Union’s migratory situation and various challenges for border management". The report presents a series of indicators from 2019, such as detections of illegal stay, arrested people smugglers and fraudulent documents, along with passenger flow data. 

 

Libya  

  • Yesterday afternoon, Haftar forces claimed formal control over Libya. The eastern-based military leader Khalifa Haftar said that his Libyan National Army (LNA) was accepting a “popular mandate” to rule the country as reported by Reuters. Although the LNA advanced last year into the southern suburbs of Tripoli, and has been bombarding the capital frequently, it lost ground to pro-GNA forces during fighting this month. 

Press review  


The New Humanitarian How COVID-19 halted NGO migrant rescues in the Mediterranean 

Salvaperelloblog - Salvar la vida a refugiados en el Mediterráneo, un sueño hecho realidad  [Saving the lives of refugees in the Mediterranean, a dream come true] News about the Alan Kurdi’s crew under quarantine.  

 7 - Salvamento Marítimo rescued 49 people from a canoe five miles south of the Canaries island. 

27/4-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  

 
 

  • This afternoon, Civil Liberties members of the European Parliament discussed, with Commission, Frontex, UNHCR, Council of Europe and NGOs (including Sea Eye), the migration situation in Libya and on the Central Mediterranean route, as the fate of migrants and asylum-seekers attempting to reach European shores from Libya has become even more uncertain due to COVID-19. Find the press release here. The LIBE's commission concluded on the need for European SAR capacities in the Central Mediterranean and a "European framework for disembarkation".
     

 

  • The Italian Avvenire’s journalist Nello Scavo published a written and video report produced onboard the Rafaele Rubbatino ferry. The ship remains currently quarantined off Palermo with the 183 survivors rescued by Aita Mari and Alan Kurdi this month. All of the survivors, Red Cross’ team members and the ship's crew were tested negative for the COVID-19.  

 

 

Libya  

 

 

 

Press review  

24/4-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  

 

  • Monday, the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) will meet representatives of the EU Commission's Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, EU Home Affairs, Frontex, UNHCR, Commissioner for Human Rights, MSF & Sea Eye to discuss the situation in Libya & the Central Mediterranean migration route.  

 

  • Avvenire published an investigative article yesterday claiming that the fishing boat that returned 51 people, rescued after several days at sea, to Libya last week was identified: “This time Valletta made use of at least one fishing boat. A fishing vessel that in Libya has been registered with two different names, but which on the international registers appears to be the Maye Yemanja (Imo Code: 7027459) launched in 1970 and currently under the Libyan flag. Photos don't lie. On a specialized site, there are some shots from 2011, when the boat was flying the Maltese flag and the name and Imo code painted on the sides and aft are clearly visible. In the images of the Tripoli landing, however, the boat appears completely anonymous”. (…) “A phantom fleet of Libyan ships [are being] maneuvered from Malta to carry out the push-backs of migrants. (…) Prime Minister Robert Abela spoke of "cooperation with Libyan fishermen to make rescue at sea more widespread", adds the Italian investigation.  

 

Libya  

  • The head of Libya's UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez al-Sarraj declared that his country is opposed to the new EU military operation IRINI (especially dedicated to monitor the UN arms embargo on Libya). Al-Sarraj said “the operation neglected to control the airspace and borders through which arms and ammunition are reaching the illegitimate forces of renegade commander Khalifa Haftar in eastern Libya” according to the Turkish press agency Anadolu.  

 

  • The man considered as the most dangerous terrorist in Libya has been arrested according to Arab news.  “The Libyan National Army has arrested the Egyptian Mohammad Mohammad Al-Sayyid, also known as Mohamed Al-Sanbakhti and Abu Khaled Munir. (…) Sayyid was considered a trusted lieutenant of Hisham Ashmawy, who was earlier executed for committing terrorist crimes in Egypt, as he participated in the bombing of several Coptic churches.”  

 

 

Press review  

 

23/4-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  

 

 

  • Malta’s request for EU humanitarian aid to Libya has been accepted, according to Television Malta. The European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi mentioned a “financial package of €35 million for the Libyan coast guard to help it carry out its duties in enforcing the law in Libyan waters. (…)”    

 

  • Yesterday, the mayor of Lampedusa mentioned a “ship that probably will stop in the Sicilian Channel next week” in order to quarantine potential future migrants “who are expected to land in the coming days” according to Mediterraneo Cronaca: “(…) A notice of interest has been published by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure: “The ship must accommodate a maximum of 250 people to be placed in isolation on board”. She “will have to accommodate 285 people, including 250 migrants, for a period of 30 days. The estimated total consideration is 1,199,250.00 €”, adds Mediterraneo Cronaca. Furthermore, the article reports that “the notice does not speak of a single ship, but refers to the interest of the Ministry in the plural "for the rental service of naval units flying the Italian and / or EU flag functional to the assistance and health surveillance of migrants rescued at sea or who have come to the national territory following autonomous landings (…) ". 

 

Libya  

 

Press review  

  • Truth be told (blog from a former politician in Malta). A boat with no name. Investigation on the unidentified boat used to return 55 people rescued in the Maltese SRR to Libya during the Eastern weekend.  

21/4-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  


 

 

 

Libya  

 

 

 

Press review  


 

AvvenireMigranti. Malta, indagato il premier Abela per la morte di 12 profughi dalla Libia [Migrants. Malta, investigated Prime Minister Abela for the death of 12 refugees from Libya] 

Times of Malta. 'We are sure they saw us' - survivors of doomed migrant boat recount ordeal 

Le Courrier de l’Atlas. Méditerranée : le Covid-19 freine les missions de sauvetage [Mediterranean: Covid-19 slows down rescue missions] (Mentions the end of the partnership with MSF, with excerpts of our PR) 

Daily Sabah. A dress rehearsal for Turkey's military operation in Libya? 

El Salto. Mediterráneo Central: La vergüenza de Europa y el chantaje de Trípoli [Central Mediterranean: Europe's shame and Tripoli's blackmail], by Valeria Alice Colombo, "doctor and crew member on Open Arms and Sea-Watch 3 

Ansa, via Infomigrants. Italy considers legalizing migrant workers 

20/4-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  

 

 

 

Libya  

 

  • UAE groups are implicated in suspected violation of Libyan arms embargo according to the Financial Times: “United Arab Emirates-based companies shipped nearly 11,000 tonnes of jet fuel to eastern Libya, the stronghold of the renegade general Khalifa Haftar, in a suspected violation of an international arms embargo, according to documents seen by the Financial Times.” 

 

Press review  


Open Migration. Migranti nella trappola libica, tra guerra e Covid-19 [Migrants in the Libyan trap, between war and Covid-19] 

Mediapart. (attached) La marine marchande frappée par la crise sanitaire [Merchant Navy hit by health crisis] 

Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport. Coronavirus: Sbarco passeggeri nave Costa Deliziosa nel porto di Genova [Coronavirus: Disembarkation of passengers ship Costa Deliziosa in the port of Genoa] 

Times of Malta. NGO seeks criminal action against ministers over decision to shut ports 

Daily Sabah. 23 health facilities bombed in Libya over past year, UN says 

Al Jazeera. In Pictures: Libya's UN-recognised government on the offensive 

Schengen Visa Info. Nearly Half Less Illegal Border Crossings to EU in March Compared to February 

Midi Libre. SOS Méditerranée est à l'arrêt [SOS Méditerranée is at a standstill] [Video interview of  Sophie Beau] 

17/4-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  

  • Our organisation and MSF announced today the end of our partnership throughout two separate press releases. Find SOS MEDITERRANEE’s PR and MSF’s PR.   
  • The Aita Mari has been asked to head West of Sicily according to Salvamento Marítimo Humanitario. They are underway, in a stand-off with 36 survivors onboard.  
  • According to Politico, the interior ministers of Germany, France, Spain and Italy have issued a joint proposal aimed at unlocking an EU-wide compromise on the issue of asylum, tackling the SAR matter: “In a letter to the Commission dated April 9, Horst Seehofer, Christophe Castaner, Luciana Lamorgese and Fernando Grande-Marlaska Gómez wrote that the Commission's plan "must create a binding mechanism for fair distribution according to specific criteria, in particular when a member state is under disproportionate pressure." But they add that "Member States resorting to other measures of solidarity than relocation must remain an exception, only for motivated reason." The letter also calls for a "Search and Rescue Solidarity Mechanism" for migrants rescued at sea, which would ensure that countries on the EU's external borders are not overburdened with asylum claims.(…)" 

 

Libya  

  • According to Middle East Monitor, social media activists reported that a group of French and Emirati advisers were trapped at the Haftar-controlled Al-Wattia air base in eastern Libya.  

 

Press review  


Alarm Phone [Press Release]. Twelve Deaths and a Secret Push-Back to Libya  

++ Mediterraneo Cronaca. La barca fantasma ed i respingimenti maltesi [The ghost boat and the Maltese rejections] - Investigation on the vessel that performed the last rescue in the Maltese SRR, which ended with a push back to Tripoli. 

La Croix. Les Européens laissent mourir douze personnes en mer Méditerranée [Europeans let twelve people die in the Mediterranean Sea] [Mention of the end of our partnership with MSF]  

The Morning Star. Europe chose to allow 12 refugees die of thirst while organising the survivors pushback to Libya [Mention of the end of our partnership with MSF] 

Avvenire. Le Ong al Governo: doveri e sicurezza chi rischia la vita va sempre soccorso [(Italian) NGOs to the Government: duties and safety those who risk their lives must always be helped.]  - Mediterranea, Sea Watch and Open Arms Italy sent a public letter answering the appeal launched by the Italian government to SAR NGOs requesting an attitude of "co-responsibility". 

Malta Today. [ANALYSIS] Fact-checking 5 claims criminalising migrant rescue NGOs 

Independant.mt Migration - Bartolo laments EU indifference: US took double more migrants 

Euronews Video report: Libya caught between bombs, bullets and now COVID-19 

 

Few dispatches following the announcement of the end of our partnership with MSF:  


AFP (via Ouest France). Sauvetage de migrants: MSF arrête ses opérations en mer avec SOS Méditerranée [Rescuing migrants: MSF stops operations at sea with SOS Méditerranée]  

L’Obs. Sauvetage de migrants : à cause du Covid, MSF arrête ses opérations en mer avec SOS Méditerranée [Rescuing migrants: because of the Covid, MSF stops its operations at sea with SOS Méditerranée] 

EFE. MSF pone fin a sus operaciones con SOS Méditerranée en el barco Ocean Viking [MSF ends operations with SOS Méditerranée on the Ocean Viking] 

Mediterraneo Cronaca. Divorzio tra MSF e SOS Mediterranee, divergenze su missioni in mare [Divorce between MSF and SOS Mediterranee, disagreements on missions at sea]  

Die Welt. Ärzte ohne Grenzen beenden Seenotrettungs-Kooperation mit SOS Méditerrannée [MSF met fin à sa coopération en matière de sauvetage en mer avec SOS 

24 heures.ch Fin du partenariat SOS Méditerranée/MSF [End of the SOS Mediterranean/MSF partnership] 

RTS La pandémie met fin au partenariat entre SOS Méditerranée et MSF [The pandemic puts an end to the partnership between SOS Méditerranée and MSF] 

The National. Leading migrant rescue alliance falls apart under European governments' Covid-19 pressure 

Time of Malta. French NGOs halt migrant rescues over closed ports disagreement 

15/4-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

 

 

Libya  

 

  • According to an article of Libya Observer published yesterday evening, the Libyan Army forces [were] laying a siege to the airbase of Al-Watiya from different directions as Air Force warplanes [covered] the area to prevent reinforcements from reaching Haftar's forces inside. Meanwhile, UAE drones supporting Haftar's forces had carried out airstrikes on forces loyal to GNA in the Western Mountain city of Jadu, killing eight and injuring 15 persons"

 

Press review 


Ansa, via Infomigrants. Migrants quarantined on ships, controversy in Italy 


The New York Times. The White House Blessed a War in Libya, but Russia Won It 


Avvenire. Migranti. Scontro sui soccorsi. Mistero sul barcone sparito. Malta chiede 100 milioni [Migrants. Rescue fight. Mystery about the missing boat. Malta asks for 100 million] 

European Commission. First unaccompanied children relocated from Greece to Luxembourg 

14/4-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

MALTA 

These past days, the SAR topic and migration issues have created tensions in Malta. 

 

ALAN KURDI  


After several days of uncertainty regarding the fate of the 149 survivors onboard Alan Kurdi, Italian authorities eventually decided to transfer these men, women and children on to an Italian ship and put them under 14 days of quarantine. Their health will be monitored by the Red Cross. The exact date of the transfer remains publicly unknown


Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport. Alan Kurdi: intervento per gestione migranti affidato al Dip. Immigrazione con supporto Croce Rossa [Alan Kurdi: Migrant management intervention entrusted to the Immigration Dept. with Red Cross support]  

Reuters. Italy ordered migrants to be put in quarantine on a ship 

 

AT SEA  

Many departures from Libya occurred these past days. 
 

  • 1,000+ people try to flee #Libya in 1 week (…)”, according to a tweet Alarm Phone published on April 11.  
     
  • dispute over the potential shipwreck of a boat carrying approximately 85 people broke out two days ago. Sea-Watch and Alarm Phone announced that four boats were in distress in the central Mediterranean on April 11. The next day, they announced that one of them had capsized.  On April 13, Frontex and the Italian Coast Guards denied the information. According to the French press agency AFP , “Frontex explained that "since Friday" it [had] spotted "four boats with migrants on board" in the Central Mediterranean. On Monday morning, these four boats were located. Two have arrived in Sicily and two are still in the Maltese search and rescue zone (…)”  
  • Several autonomous arrivals in Italy have also been reported during this Eastern weekend:  

Sergio Scandura. 40 people arrived independently on a dinghy, two miles from the southern Sicilian coast.  

Sky Tg 24. Sbarcati questa mattina a Pozzallo 101 migranti: tra loro anche minori [101 migrants disembarked in Pozzallo: among them also minors] 

Alarm Phone.  “(...)Migrant communities confirmed that one of the boats we lost contact with (~71/77 people) arrived autonomously in Ragusa, Italy. (…)” 
 


 


 

Libya  

 

 

Press review 


Four Italian NGOs’ Joint letter: Letter to the European Council Commissioner for Human Rights of the European Council from the civil society rescue vessels (Signatories: Mediterranea, Open Arms, Sea-Watch and MSF Italy 


++ The New York Times (8 min video report): ‘Which Death Is Going to Be Worse?’ Coronavirus Invades a Conflict Zone: “Libyans have been fleeing bombs and shells throughout the country’s six-year civil war. But with the arrival of the coronavirus, virtually nowhere is safe to hide.” 

The Guardian. Calls in Italy to rescue people at sea after fears of more migrant deaths 

 
CBC News. Coronavirus: Italians fear second wave as lockdown is eased 


Al Jazeera. UN condemns water cutoff to Libyan capital Tripoli 


Times of Malta. Sea rescue NGOs 'facilitating human trafficking' - government 


Times of Malta. Calls grow for social welfare boss dismissal after anti-migrant tirade 


Malta Today. Over 3,500 sign petition calling on Malta to rescue boat migrants 


Alarm Phone (Press Release) The Covid-19 Excuse: Non-Assistance in the Central Mediterranean becomes the Norm 


The Maritime Executive. Port Denials: What are States’ International Obligations? 

 
Avvenire. Migranti. Il ricatto libico all’Europa: messi in mare 10 barconi. Ma nessuno soccorre [Migrants. Libyan blackmail to Europe: 10 boats put to sea. But nobody helps] 


Le Point. Coronavirus: retour du porte-avions français, 1.900 marins à répartir en isolement [Coronavirus: return of the French aircraft carrier, 1,900 sailors to be deployed in isolation] 

9/4-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  

 

          Following this announcement, 4 Italian SAR NGOs (MSF Italy, Mediterranea, Sea-Watch and Open Arms) published a joint statementSOS MEDITERRANEE decided to comment in all our languages, autonomously, on Twitter.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Libya  

 

 

 

 

Press review  


 

IOM. IOM Calls for European Solidarity and Action on Mediterranean Rescue Amid COVID-19 


Times of Malta. Malta Cabinet meet to discuss Italy closure of ports to NGO migrant rescue 


IOM. Over 200,000 Libyans Displaced Amid Fighting as COVID-19 Threat Increases 


Ansa. Residents protest in Lampedusa for new migrant arrivals 


Avvenir. In mare solo navi turche. Davanti alle coste libiche la "divisione" dell'Europa [Only Turkish ships at sea. In front of the Libyan coast the "division" of Europe] 


Infomigrants. Alan Kurdi still looking for safe harbor as Germany issues appeal to halt rescues 


Associated Press. Germany, Luxembourg to take in migrant children from Greece 


Infomigrants. Spain to hire foreign workers to cover agriculture shortfall 


Alarm PhoneReport: Struggles of women on the move 


Der Spiegel. Video report in Libya 

7/4-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  

 

 

  • Today, “67 migrants were returned to Libya by the coast guard” according to IOM Libya. “(…) It is unacceptable for migrants to be returned to Libya. We reiterate our call for a clear, safe and alternative disembarkation mechanism”, called the international organization. 

 

 

Libya  

 

Press review  

+++ BR24. Jan Ribbeck: Arzt bei Tag, Seenotretter bei Nacht [Jan Ribbeck: doctor by day, sea rescuer by night]  

Al-MonitorBattle for air supremacy heats up in Libya despite COVID-19 outbreak 

Al Jazeera. Libya's war: Will new EU mission stop arms shipments? 

 Infomigrants. Une cinquantaine de migrants parviennent à entrer dans l'enclave espagnole de Melilla [About 50 migrants manage to enter the Spanish enclave of Melilla] 

InfomigrantsEspagne : près de 400 migrants arrivés en une semaine, 39 autres portés disparu [Spain: almost 400 migrants arrived in one week, 39 more missing] 

The Guardian. 'Coronavirus doesn't respect barbed wire': concern mounts for Greek camps 

Infomigrants. Italy: Migrant farmworkers fear coronavirus 

6/4-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  

 

  • Sea-Watch says that they are willing to go back at sea, with their new ship Sea-Watch 4, as soon as she will be technically operational. The organization explained that she encounters difficulties to finish the works on the Sea-Watch 4 due to the Covid-19 crisis, in a the German media Evangelisch:" The hospital is ready, the client area, where the rescued are housed, has been completed as well as a protected room for women and children. The galley where we cook for the rescued is also ready, several hundred life jackets are already on board. What is essentially missing are technical structures on the deck and the painting of the ship. (...) The first mission was scheduled for early April. We were also very well on schedule, but of course the corona pandemic does not leave us without a trace. It is currently difficult, if not impossible, to obtain certain spare parts and other elements needed for the conversion. Due to travel restrictions, it is also difficult for shipyard assistants to reach the ship. Nevertheless, we are continuing to work to the best of our ability to get the ship on board as quickly as possible. (...)" 

 

Libya  

  • ANSA (via infomigrants). Libyan humanitarian crisis worsening, said UNHCR head of Libya mission Jean-Paul Cavalieri. He said that the daily life of civilians in Libya was getting ever more difficult. (…) The agency is also calling for the release of people from detention centers. ''Asylum seekers and refugees, held in detention because they do not have legal documentation, are particularly vulnerable and exposed, given often poor sanitation facilities, limited health services and overcrowded conditions”. 

 

 

Press review  

La Croix. Méditerranée : un navire part à la rescousse des migrants [Mediterranean: a ship comes to the rescue of migrants] (MSF MENTION) 

Al Jazeera. Libya: Coronavirus outbreak could be 'catastrophic' for migrants (By Faras Ghani, a journalist embed onboard the OV on a previous rotation) 

The Guardian. 'Migrants never disappeared': the lone rescue ship braving a pandemic 

Infomigrants. Malta: 1,000 migrants quarantined after eight test positive for coronavirus 

Infomigrants. Italy: Migrants to stay in centers beyond time limit 

Reuters. Spanish hotel owner turns resort over to refugees during coronavirus crisis 

Deutsche Welle (via Infomigrants). Coronavirus: Greece quarantines migrant camps 

3/4-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  

  • La Stampa. The ship Alan Kurdi of the German NGO Sea Eye returns to the sea. Italy to Germany: "Manage it" “(…) The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, pressed by the Ministry of the Interior, sent a verbal note to the Foreign Ministry in Berlin: we are under medical quarantine, migrants cannot land on our shores (…) Clearly for our government the return to sea of a humanitarian vessel (...) is a practical problem, but also a political one. In the midst of an emergency, with a country on the verge of a nervous breakdown, the landing of a few hundred migrants in Sicily or Lampedusa risks becoming the detonator of an explosion of uncontrolled anger. 

 

 

  • Refugee Rescue decided to pause their operations due to Covid-19: (…) We decided we could not risk the safety of our crew, the safety of the people of Skala, and essentially, the health of new arrivals to the island. With the current lockdown and travel bans, it would not be possible to respond at sea. While we may be out of the water, we will continue campaigning to ensure that people who arrive in Greece by sea are assisted and protected.” 

 

 

Libya  

 

 

 
 

Press review  


 

EU Observer. Opinion: EU's 'Irini' Libya mission: Europe's Operation Cassandra 


RNZ. MSF: Fighting a virus without borders 


The New York Times. The 1,000-Bed Comfort Was Supposed to Aid New York. It Has 20 Patients. 


NBC News. Navy relieves captain who raised alarm about coronavirus outbreak on aircraft carrier 


The Africa Report. Libya’s Marshal Haftar lobbies the USA 


European Commission. The European Commission has confirmed that 8 EU Member States will relocate 1,600 children currently in Greece 


Infomigrants. Greece ends month-long freeze on asylum applications 


IOM. COVID-19 Pandemic Poses Grave Risk to Communities in Displacement Camps 

2/4-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  

  • Libya Observer, Tripoli says EU Operation IRINI benefits Haftar. (…) The House of Representatives in Tripoli has accused the European Union of working to enable Khalifa Haftar in Libya by dubious ways, commenting on the new naval mission in the Mediterranean, Operation IRINI, according to the Libya Observer. In a statement on Wednesday, the HoR said the mission's monitoring focus on the arms embargo in the sea only, disregarding land and air borders, which it said were main routes for Haftar's military backup, means it's undermining the legitimate Government of National Accord in the country. (…) 

 

Libya  

 

Press review  


 

Barbara Rijks, chief of Mission IOM Niger. More than 250 migrants were abandoned last week by their smugglers close to Madama, at Niger’s 

border with Libya, amidst the COVID19 lockdown


The Independent. ‘People don’t realise what is coming’: How a coronavirus crisis would unfold in war-torn Syria, Yemen or Libya 


Daily Sabah. Why the Turkey-Libya deal is a geopolitical gambit in East Med 


Greek Reporter. Mainland Greece Camp on Lockdown After 20 Migrants Diagnosed with Coronavirus 


The Guardian. EU court rules three member states (Hungary, Poland and Czech Republic) broke law over refugee quotas 


The Guardian. Trump says US 'has to help' coronavirus-stricken cruise liners heading to Florida 


The New York Times. Florida Debates Whether to Take Sickened Cruise Ship Passengers 


Associated Press. Nearly 3,000 sailors to leave carrier amid virus outbreak 


The Guardian. Medical team boards Ruby Princess off Sydney coast to assess health of 1,100 crew

1/4-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  

 

Libya  

  • According to Ashaqr Al Awsat, “warring sides in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, exchanged accusations about importing mercenaries from Syria and other African countries. This, according to sources, could help in spreading the new coronavirus given that incoming mercenaries aren’t being checked for the virus.” 

 

Press review  


The National. German ship sets sail for Libyan rescue zone 

CNN. Commander of aircraft carrier hit by coronavirus outbreak warns Navy 'decisive action' is needed 

Bloomberg. Coronavirus-Hit German Cruise Ship Urged to Leave Australia 

Zomad. Une vague de refus d’accès aux ports face à la pandémie de Covid-19 [A wave of denial of access to ports in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic] 

International Labor Organization. Treat seafarers with “dignity and respect” during COVID-19 crisis 

OHCHR, IOM, UNHCR and WHO - Joint Press Release. The Rights and Health of Refugees, Migrants and Stateless Must be Protected in COVID-19 Response 

EU Observer. Berlin ready to airlift Greek island refugees 

Deutsche Welle, via Infomigrants. Coronavirus: Urgent appeal for evacuation of Greek refugee camps 

UNHCR Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean, Vincent Cochetel. Between 25-31 March, 9 boats carrying 270 persons were rescued while trying to reach the Canary Islands. 

Le Point. Libye : « La peur du virus n'agit pas » [Libya: “Fear of the virus doesn’t have effect”] 

31/3-20

 

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  

  • Today, the European Council adopted a decision launching Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI. High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, held a press conference on Irini’s operation today.  While answering a question by ANSA on rescues in the framework of the Irini mission (at 12’40) he explained that "Migrants are not migrants, anyone in the sea has to be rescued, that's international law. The ships are not patrolling the seas looking for people to rescue. This is not "Sophia bis". It is a completely different operation. The main purpose is to control the arm embargo. There are additional missions that are unavoidable. Say it or not, if the ships find someone in the sea, they will have to rescue them. There is an agreement, among the Member States that will participate in the mission, on how to proceed, where to disembark and how to share the burden. But this is also something that is part of the reserve documentation of the mission. But this agreement exists and we know how to proceed and the navy commanders will know what to do in the case, if this happens. Because the mission is not devoted to look for people, to rescue them, but if this happens, we will now how to proceed". 

 

  • The Alan Kurdi is currently in the Balearic Sea according to Marine Traffic’s website. The German vessel is expected to reach the Libyan search and rescue region this weekend. 
    In a press release, Sea Eye assures that “due to the corona crisis, the operational management of the association has taken further security precautions and established an “outbreak management plan”. German high sea vessels have the highest security requirements anyway. In addition, we have sufficient personal protective equipment for our crew on board”, says Jan Ribbeck, mission manager. 

 

 

Libya  

 
Press review  

 

Euractiv. EU finalises ‘Operation Irini’ to enforce Libya arms embargo  

The Independent. Opinion: Authorities are using coronavirus as an excuse to let migrants die, by Valeria Alice Colombo, Italian doctor and crew member on Sea-Watch.  

Holland America Line. Blog: A Humanitarian Crisis: Response to Cruise Ships Stranded at Sea Tests Our Deepest Human Values, by Orlando Ashford (President of Hollad America cruise ships line) 

 MSF. Press Release: MSF steps up COVID-19 response in Europe 

Human Rights Watch. Greece: Nearly 2,000 New Arrivals Detained in Overcrowded, Mainland Camps 

 PBS. At Greek refugee camp, there are few defenses against COVID-19 threat 

 Infomigrants. Quarantine and asylum: This is what migrants are saying 

30/3-20

 

Nearly 200 Syrian asylum seekers are stranded in northern Cyprus after they were pushed back in the middle of the sea by authorities in the government-controlled south, due to coronavirus.  

 

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  

  • To our knowledge, the Alan Kurdi headed to the Libyan Search and Rescue Region today (they left Burriana, Spain, this afternoon). No other SAR NGO vessels are currently operating in the Central Mediterranean.  

 

 

  • Yesterday, Salvamento Maritimo and planes from the military Air Force rescued three boats with 70 people on board, including six children, who left from Dakhla (Western Sahara) and were heading to the Canary Islands, according to EFE.  

 

Libya  

 

 

 

  • Yet, heavy fighting over the weekend dashed hopes of a “humanitarian pause” to allow emergency services on both sides to fight the virus, according to the Telegraph. 

 
 

Press review  


France 24. Fears that coronavirus could ‘overwhelm’ war-torn Libya 


Voice of America (VOA) If Coronavirus Hits Libyan Detention Centers It Would be a 'Massacre' [MSF MENTION] 


The Guardian. Calais refugees aim to reach UK to escape coronavirus lockdown 


Reuters. Portugal to treat migrants as residents during coronavirus crisis 


Euractiv‘Are we in Greece?’: Migrants seize their chance in Europe quest 


The Financial Times. Edito: “Turkey’s refugee ‘extortion diplomacy’ must end”, by Nikos Dendias the Greek’s Foreign Minister 


Reuters. New coronavirus cases confirmed in Libya as fighting flares 


The Guardian. Libya fighting intensifies as rival forces defy UN call for global ceasefire 

 

27/3-20

 

A Guardian analysis finds that at least ten ships – carrying nearly 10,000 passengers – remain at sea after their destinations refuse them.  

 

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  


 

No further information was publicly communicated today about the end of Sophia Operation and the new Irini operation being prepared.  


There are still no SAR NGO vessels operating in the Central Mediterranean and it seems no interception were conducted today by Libyan Coast Guards, to our knowledge.  

 

Libya  

  • Battles raged on several fronts in Libya today, after a night of heavy bombardment in Tripoli, combatants and residents said to Reuters. Huge explosions rattled the capital from midnight onwards, with artillery fire echoing around the city this morning, according to residents. 

 

  • The Libyan National Center for Disease Control said 26 samples for relatives of the first Coronavirus case in Libya tested negative for COVID-19, according to the Libya Observer. The center also indicated that four suspected Coronavirus cases had also tested negative after being referred to the laboratory on Wednesday, including a case on board a fuel tanker. 

 

Press review  


Infomigrants. Libye : "À cause du coronavirus, on ne peut pas travailler. Mais ici, sans argent, tu as forcément tort" [Libya: "Because of the coronavirus, we can't work. But here, without money, you're bound to be wrong."] 


Foreign Policy. You Can’t Practice Social Distancing if You’re a Refugee 


ISPI. Coronavirus: la letalità in Italia, tra apparenza e realtà [Coronavirus: lethality in Italy, between appearance and reality] 


ABC News. Turkey moves migrants from Greek border amid virus pandemic 

26/3-20

Coronavirus: 


The coronavirus pandemic has sickened more than 482,800 people (at the time of writing), according to official accounts. As of Thursday morning, at least 21,896 people have died, and the virus has been detected in at least 171 countries, as these maps of the New York Times show. 


With two thirds of the dead, some European countries have seen steep rises in infections and deaths, and Southern Europe has become the new epicentre of the crisis. More than 250,000 cases of new coronavirus have been officially diagnosed on the continent, more than half of them in Italy (74,386) and Spain (56,188). As well as Italy and Spain, France, Germany and the UK now have thousands of confirmed cases each. The toll in Spain, with more than 3,600 deaths, also surpasses the number to have died in China, according to Le Monde and BBC. More than three billion people, or more than a third of humanity (estimated by the United Nations, the UN, at 7.8 billion people in 2020), are now destined to remain confined, according to an AFP count. 


Frontex published a map tracking the temporary restrictions (air, land and sea borders; school, gathering and public lockdowns, as of March 24th) put in place throughout the EU, Schengen Area and the UK to deal with Covid-19.  

 

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean  

 

  • EU Diplomats reached a deal today on a naval and air mission with operation “Irini”. By patrolling the Eastern Mediterranean, this new operation aims to replace Sophia and monitor UN arms embargo on Libya. The European Union will launch a new Mediterranean naval and air mission in April to stop more arms reach warring factions in Libya”, EU diplomats said to Reuters, with Greece agreeing to allow disembarkations of people rescued at sea in its ports.  // "Greece agreed to be the landing country for shipwrecked people rescued by EU military vessels [...], all costs will be covered by the EU budget” according to a diplomatic source mentioned by the French press Agency AFP (article attached). 

 

 

Libya  

  • A BBC Africa Eye’s investigation claims to have proof that Turkey sends secret arms shipments into Libya. A video report tracks the movements of a ship called the Bana, who set sail from Turkey on January 24 and vanished from the radar four days later, off the coast of Libya.  

 

Press review:

  

Middle East Monitor. Egypt accuses Turkey of sending extremists to Libya 


Libya Observer. Red Cross expresses support for health sector in Libya as Covid-19 breaks out 


Reuters. Refugees to the rescue? Germany taps migrant medics to battle virus 


Daily Sabah. More than 150,000 migrants enter Greece since February 28, Interior Minister says 


Ansa, via Infomigrants. Coronavirus: Italian detainee rights guarantor concerned about migrants in repatriation centers 


Le Marin. Coronavirus : les sauveteurs en mer se mobilisent... à terre [Coronavirus: rescuers at sea are mobilising... on land] 

25/3-20

SAR/Political context in the Mediterranean 

 

[…] Despite the frantic work of Costa Crociere's top management to allow the ship to leave Savona as soon as possible, there are no Italian ports willing to welcome "Luminosa" and no one among the ports contacted by the company has given the go-ahead for the arrival of the ship. There's more: both Costa   and other companies are looking for berths where to moor their ships still sailing, but there are very few ports of call in the world willing to welcome cruise ships that could have on board cruise passengers or seafarers positive to the coronavirus.

 

[…] The cruise ship Costa Victoria, carrying 726 quarantined international holidaymakers, docked in virus-hit Italy today, after a woman who tested positive disembarked in Greece, sparking fears among those on board. Civitavecchia's mayor Ernesto Tedesco said he had tried to stop the liner, which has a large number of Australian and French passengers, from docking -- but had been overruled. Those allowed off the Victoria would likely be put on coaches and taken directly to Rome's Fiumicino airport, the mayor said.

 

Libya 

  

Middle East EyeWar-ravaged Libya records first case of coronavirus. 

The first case of coronavirus declared yesterday in Libya involves a 73-year-old man who arrived from Saudi Arabia via Tunisia, around two weeks ago, local media reports. « Equipment for testing is limited, there is very little protective gear and there is a severe shortage of medical workers, particularly in rural areas », said Elizabeth Hoff, the head of mission for WHO in Libya. The "timing could not be worse" for the coronavirus to loom over Libya, according to the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Libya.

Reuters - Hit by war and oil blockade, Libya prepares for pandemic [MSF Mention] 

Both the warring factions in Libya have imposed lockdowns to guard against the coronavirus but fighting is still going on, compounding difficulties the country faces in preparing to combat the disease [...] Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), an international medical charity working in Tripoli, said the latest bout of warfare had made things worse. “Libya...is a high-risk country essentially due to the deficiencies of the Libyan healthcare system that has been further impacted by the latest armed conflict,” said Joris de Jongh, MSF project coordinator in Tripoli.

AP, via the New-York Times. Tripoli Officials Say Clashes Escalating Over Libyan Capital 

Clashes between rival Libyan forces for control of Tripoli escalated on Wednesday as militias allied with the U.N.-supported government based in the country's capital launched an offensive on a military base held by their rivals, officials said.

Reuters. Libyan commander says probe of seized tanker to start after quarantine 

The coast guard at Misrata seized the Gulf Petroleum 4 three days ago, after the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said the tanker had broken an arms embargo and other international agreements by offloading jet fuel in Benghazi. Libya’s internationally recognised government will start an investigation into a tanker over alleged sanctions-breaking after a period of quarantine ends in two weeks, the coast guard commander who seized the vessel said on Wednesday.

 

Press review 

 

Reuters. EU asks Greece to move migrants most at risk from coronavirus out of crowded camps 

Slate. The Looming Refugee Coronavirus Disaster  

Al JazeeraA renegade commander, a Libyan colonel and a suburban family 

The Take explores the roots of the latest wave of violence in Libya, and the American family trying to take Khalifa Haftar to court. In this episode, Hafed al-Ghwell, a senior fellow at Johns Hopkins University, takes us along General Haftar's journey. 

 AFP Factcheck. This photo shows coffins for dead migrants after a boat capsized off the coast of Italy in 2013 

A photo of a room lined with coffins has been shared thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts that claim it shows Italian nationals killed during the novel coronavirus pandemic in 2020. The claim is false; the photo actually shows coffins for a group of dead migrants at an Italian airport in October 2013 after their boat sank off the coast of Italy. 

Open Democracy. What happens to freedom of movement during a pandemic? 

24/3-20

SAR in the Central Mediterranean

  • There is no NGO vessel currently operating in the Central Mediterranean. 
  • No interception by the Libyan Coast Guards has been reported in the past few days.

 

Libya

As we saw these past days, the "coronavirus truce » has swiftly been broken. According to Radio France International, a spokesman for the ANL, recently said on his Facebook page that his forces had foiled a Turkish attack aimed at breaking through the front lines south of Tripoli.

Libya: barely established, the truce of the “coronavirus” immediately broken RFI (in English)]

As fighting intensifies, despite Covid-19-related health threat, the arrival of foreign fighters on Libyan soil reinforces the risks of contamination linked to the virus, according to Le Monde Arabe

Libye : les combats s’intensifient malgré la menace sanitaire liée au Covid-19 [Libya: Fighting intensifies despite health threat from Covid-19] Le Monde Arabe (in French)

The situation of men, women and children in detention centers is also deeply concerning, as expressed by the National Human Rights Commission in Libya, who is calling on the Libyan authorities and the international community to take action to close migrant detention centres in Libya because of the coronavirus. « We expect an unprecedented human catastrophe. » said Walid Elhouderi, head of the Libyan Human Rights Commission, according to Infomigrants. « 

Coronavirus en Libye : forte inquiétude concernant les migrants [Coronavirus in Libya: strong concern about migrants] Infomigrants (in French)

 

Press review


The GuardianWhy the 'ignored war' in Libya will come to haunt a blinkered west,

The Guardian: Libya’s refugees face being cut off from aid due to coronavirus

Reuters: EU asks Greece to move migrants most at risk from coronavirus out of crowded camps

Infomigrants: Coronavirus in Italy: Measures to protect migrants needed, unions and NGOs say

Anadolu Agency: Assisting migrants at risk as coronavirus strikes Italy

23/3-20

SAR in the Mediterranean

-   During the EU Foreign Affairs Council, the Italian Foreign Minister Di Maio announced the closure of Italian ports regarding migrants rescued in the Central Mediterranean: "It's not a question of wanting to be good or bad, Italy cannot now", he said, according to Europa Today.

-   Sunday, Alarm Phone said, on twitter, that « Over the past 7 days, Alarm Phone was alerted to 5 boats in distress, carrying over 500 people. 3 boats were rescued to #Greece, 1 to Northern #Cyprus & 1 to the #Canary Islands after several days in distress at sea.

-   According to a tweet published by the independant journalist based in Lesvos, Franziska Gillmeier, yesterday: « 3 boats carrying over 60 people arrived on Lesvos. […] Medical & legal aid is not given at this point to new arrivals (even to the most vulnerable cases). »

-   The New York Times published an article explaining how privately-owned commercial ships are now used by EU as a new proxy to prevent Mediterranean migration. Privatized Pushbacks: How Merchant Ships Guard Europe especially mentions the OOC Panther, that had been involved in a pushback while the Ocean Viking was operating in the Libyan SAR Zone last November.

 

Libya

Today: 

-   Following the EU Foreign Affairs Council, Josep Borrell, EU chief diplomat, says no deal was yet reached on Irene mission for Libya. According to Ansamed, Borrell declared that « The main unresolved issue is the distribution of migrants rescued at sea » (NB : Operation Irene is due to replace Operation Sophia, ending on March, 31st)

            -   According to Anadolu Agency, « Haftar’s militias targeted Mitiga International Airport with rockets. […] 5 civilians were killed and six wounded ».  

This week-end:

-   the « Libyan National Army of Khalifa Haftar has “welcomed” calls for a new ceasefire made by the United Nations and several countries. » according to Asharqr Al Awsat. « […] The General Command is committed to stopping fighting so long as the other parties abide by it"»

      -   OCHA’s Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, Yacoub El Hillo, welcomed positive responses by Libyan parties to calls for a humanitarian pause and appeals for full facilitation of COVID-19 prevention and response efforts in Libya

-  UN also called on all parties to join forces, [...] to improve their preparedness to battle this pandemic and prevent catastrophic consequences. “This includes allowing unhindered access to the provisions of humanitarian assistance, goods and food items, and to allow WHO and health sector partners to work unimpeded in all parts of the country,” according to the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL)

-   According to Libya Observer, the Head of the UN-backed Council, Fayez Al-Sarraj, said yesterday that « daily attacks on civilian neighborhoods in Tripoli haven't stopped [...] . » Al Sarraj also called for the international community to take responsibility in Libya « by adopting a strict stance regarding the violations of Haftar in the country. » The leader of the GNA (Government of National Accord) reminded the international community that he is keeping the right « to respond to Haftar's violations in Tripoli."

-   A report by Doctors for Human Rights (MEDU) has found that 85% of migrants and refugees who reached Italy from Libya had been subjected to torture between 2014 and 2020. Find a summary published on Infomigrants, via ANSA : Libya: 85 percent of migrants subjected to torture

 

Press review

-   [+++SOS MEDITERRANEE’s Interview | Article attached ] Frederic Penard, SOS MEDITERRANEE director of operations answered the questions of La Libre.be (belgium newspaper).  "La crise de coronavirus risque de renforcer la mortalité" en Méditerranée (Coronavirus outbreak may increase the mortality rate in the Mediterranean)

-  [+++SOS MEDITERRANEE’s INTERVIEW] In anticipation of the broadcasting of the french journalist Etienne Huver’s report (embedded onboard the OV in November), SOS MEDITERRANEE’s SAR Team member Théo answered few questions for the magasine Telestar : "Sauver les réfugiés en Méditerranée est un devoir"

-  MSF published a blog article written by the Medical Team Leader Catherine Flanigan, who was onboard the OV for her rotations 5, 6 and 7 and who was also nurse onboard the Aquarius: "So much has happened in the first short months of her life"

-   Coronavirus risks taking heavy toll on migrants in Europe, Economic Times

19/3-20

SAR

 

According to Ansa, 244 of the 277 people who disembarked from the Ocean Viking to Pozzallo on February 23rd will not be transferred from the Hotspot in Pozzallo due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While 33 unaccompanied minors were placed under the care of foster families after the completion of the 14-day quarantine, the remaining 244 might only be transferred from the facility in April.

InfoMigrantsCoronavirus: Sicily halts relocation of migrants in Pozzallo

167 Italians who live and work in Malta were exceptionally authorized to disembark from a cargo catamaran to Pozzallo yesterday. They were examined by the Dr. Vincenzo Morello, who does the medical examinations at disembarkations from the Ocean Viking as well, and will also have to comply with a 14-day quarantine. Malta has threatened to expel Italians who have lost their income and health care due to the pandemic while also limiting maritime connections to and from Sicily to goods only, hence why the returning Sicilians travelled onboard a cargo vessel. Sicily, in turn, has closed its “borders” and isolated itself from the rest of Italy. The mayor of Pozzallo demanded that the returnees should be quarantened in appropriate facilities.

Mediterraneo cronaca: Migrazioni e COVID-19, sbarco di circa 300 migranti a Pozzallo [Migration and COVID-19, approx. 300 migrants disembark in Pozzallo]

French customs patrol vessel Kermorvan, intended to participate in a Frontex mission around the Greek island of Samos, was ordered home to its port of registry in Brest, Brittany, today. The Frontex mission it was supposed to take part in was suspended.

Ouest France: Coronavirus. Le patrouilleur des Douanes Kermorvan rentre à Brest

Some media outlets in Germany and Italy have reported on SAR NGOs having to halt their operations to the COVID-19 pandemic, their considerations, and their willingness to resume operations as soon as possible:

Tagesschau: Ruf nach Abschiebestopp wird lauter [Calls for a suspension of deportations of migrants grow louder]

La Stampa: Stop ai soccorsi: La pandemia ora blocca le navi delle Ong [Rescue stops: The pandemic is now blocking NGO ships] (PDF attached) +++ SOS mention

La Repubblica: Coronavirus, le Ong fermano le missioni di salvataggio in mare. Migranti senza più soccorsi [Coronavirus: NGOs stop sea rescue missions. Migrants without rescue.] +++ SOS mention

EPD: Keine Seenotrettung wegen Corona-Pandemie [No sea rescue due to Corona pandemic] +++ SOS mention

 

Libya

The United Nations and nine embassadors to Libya (those of Algeria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the UK, the US, the EU delegation to Libya and the governments of Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates) have called on the warring parties in Libya to “declare immediate humanitarian cessation of hostilities” to allow health authorities to fight the rapid spread of COVID–19.

Al Jazeera: UN urges Libyans to halt fighting, instead battle coronavirus

New York Times: Libyan truce would aid war on Coronavirus, say Western, Arab nations

Several civilians (conflicting reports say 4 or 5) were reportedly killed in rocket attacks by militias loyal to General Khalifa Haftar in Tripoli yesterday. Heavy fighting has been ongoing in the capital since early Wednesday.

ABC News: Libya official says 5 women killed in shelling near Tripoli 

Anadolu Agency: Libya: 4 killed in rocket attacks by Haftar militias

The Libya Observer: Haftar’s forces intensify attacks on Tripoli civilian neighbourhoods despite international ceasefire calls

The UNHCR has suspended its activities in Libya due to the spread of COVID-19. The UNHCR centres in Tripoli are closed until further notice but the organisation still provides telephone service. According to InfoMigrants, the announcement sparked panic among some of those displaced in Libya.

InfoMigrantsCoronavirus: le HCR suspend ses opérations en Libye

MSF has delivered the first trainings on COVID-19 infection control and case management to nurses and doctors in Tripoli earlier this week.

https://twitter.com/MSF_Sea/status/1239848692519186432

The UN Support Mission In Libya (UNSMIL) has expressed its concerns over a recent increase in abductions and enforced disappearances across Libya and renewed ist call for the respect of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by conflict parties.

Libya Herald: UNSMIL concerned about increased kidnappings in Libya

In an article for Foreign Policy, Conflict Researcher Jalel Harchaoui predicts an intensification of the Civil War in Libya and lays out the motivations and activities of the foreign actors involved in the conflict.

Foreign Policy: The Libyan civil war is about to get worse

 

Press review

NZZ: “Wir folgen dem Buchstaben des Seerechts. Und dafür werden wir kriminalisiert.” [“We follow maritime law. And are being criminalized for it."] +++ Article by Swiss journalist Nina Belz who visited the OV during the February port call, featuring an interview with Nick

Le Monde: Ils écrivent depuis leur “confinamento” [They write from their “confinement”] +++ includes a short text by Caterina Bonvicini, who was onboard the Ocean Viking in January and compares her experiences there to the current situation (PDF attached)

Middle East Monitor: Why Egypt’s meddling in Libya’s affairs is worrying

InfoMigrants: Which migrant services in Europe are suspended or reduced due to COVID-19?

The New Humanitarian: How coronavirus hits migrants and asylum seekers in Italy

IOM: IOM, UNHCR announce temporary suspension of resettlement travel for refugees

Avvenire“Libia, la fabbrica della tortura”. La denuncia di 3mila superstiti["Libya, the torture factory." The report of 3,000 survivors]

17/3-20

SAR

 

According to the IOM, 5 boats carrying a total of 406 people were intercepted and returned to Libya within 24 hours over the weekend. Most of them were taken to detention. Approx. 110 people were rescued from a boat in distress by the Maltese Armed Forces, as AlarmPhone reported.

 

Multiple autonomous arrivals to Lampedusa were reported on Friday. According to journalist Angela Caponnetto, 111 people were quarantined in the hotspot on the island on Friday night, 85 of whom have since been brought to Porto Empedocle, Sicily, by ferry. 

 

Salvamento Marítimo Humanitario (SMH) have announced that due to the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 in Italy and the rough sea they cannot set a date for the next mission. The Aita Mari will remain docked until further notice.

 

At least 6 boats carrying a total of 109 people have reached the Greek Aegean islands last Thursday and Friday, according to Aegean Boat Report

 

Approx. 75 people reached Almería, Spain, by boat yesterday.

europapress: Trasladan al puerto de Almería a 74 personas rescatadas de una patera en el mar de Alborán 

 

The Spanish Coast Guard rescued 60 people from a dinghy in the Alborán sea on Saturday.

EFE: Salvamento Marítimo rescata a 60 inmigrantes en el mar de Alboran 

 

Libya

 

The Libyan Government of National Accord has declared a state of emergency and will close all air and sea ports from today, as Prime Minister Serraj announced on Saturday. No cases have been confirmed in Libya thus far.

Reuters: Libya’s Tripoli government declares emergency, shuts down ports, airports

 

According to Tunisian radio Mosaique FM, the border crossing Dehiba-Wazen between Tunisia and Libya was closed from Saturday night onwards.

Mosaïque FM: Fermeture du point de passage Dehiba-Wazen 

 

Political

 

On Friday, a Turkish court sentenced three suspects convicted for the murders of Alan Kurdi and five others to 125 years in prison each. The three men are believed to be organisers of human trafficking. The Bodrum High Criminal Court sentenced them for “killing with eventual intent”. 

Deutsche Welle: Turkey: Three sentenced to 125 years for murder of refugee toddler

 

The 450 people who were held on navy vessel in a Lesvos port since March 1 were transferred to a facility near Athens on Sunday.

https://www.ekathimerini.com/250664/article/ekathimerini/news/450-migrants-transferred-to-facility-near-athens

 

Press review

 

Télé Star: Sauver les réfugiés en Méditerranée est un devoir [Rescuing refugees in the Mediterranean is a duty], interview with SAR team member Théo announcing the M6 documentary “Enquête exclusive”, filmed on the Ocean Viking in October 2019. PDF attached.

Deutsche WelleOn a rescue mission with the Ocean Viking (video by Miodrag Soric, on board in January) 

Deutsche WelleOcean Viking rescue ship: Lifesavers at Sea (video by Miodrag Soric, on board in January)

MSF: Help and solidarity needed in Europe to protect medical staff from COVID-19

The Guardian: Suspected military supplies pour into Libya as UN flounders

Der Spiegel: Flüchtlingslager Moria auf Lesbos: “Wir schaffen das allein nicht” [Refugee camp Moria on Lesvos: “We can’t do this alone”, interview with Dimitri Vafeas, director of Moria camp] 

International Crisis Group: Sharing the Burden: Revisiting the EU-Turkey Migration Deal

The Guardian: Lesbos coronavirus case sparks fears for refugee camp

13/3-20

SAR

26 people were rescued by the Guardia di Finanza near Lampedusa last night. They were disembarked and put on quarantine on the hotspot of Lampedusa.

ANSA: Migranti: in 26 sbarcano a Lampedusa

According to Ali Zoubeidi (Twitter handle following the Western Med SAR situation), 3 people from sub-Saharan Africa drowned and 4 went missing in a shipwreck that occurred off the coast off Larache, Morocco yesterday.

https://twitter.com/DrAZoubeidi/status/1238246360522121216

  According to Aegean Boat Report, a fishing boat carrying 125 migrants was intercepted by the Turkish Coast Guard in Izmir province on Wednesday night.

https://twitter.com/ABoatReport/status/1238235856659496962

According to El País, only four percent of the 629 survivors who disembarked from the Aquarius in Valencia in June 2018 have been granted asylum so far. 376 of the 629 survivors applied for asylum in Spain, of which only 62 cases have been treated and four have been granted refugee status.

El País: España deniega el asilo al 94% de los rescatados por el ‘Aquarius’ 

An article published by the Guardian in English, El Diario in Spanish and Mediapart in French details the cooperation of the EU’s Operation Sophia with the Libyan coast guard. The article includes intercepted radio communication of Spanish aircraft Seagull 75 trying to direct a Libyan coast guard patrol vessel towards to rubber boats in distress in March 2019.

https://www.eldiario.es/desalambre/Aviones-militares-guardacostas-interceptar-devolverlos_0_1003349772.html

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/12/revealed-the-great-european-refugee-scandal

(French article attached)

 

Libya

128 people of Sudanese, Somali & Eritrean nationality were evacuated from Libya to the UNHCR transit centre in Niamey, Niger, yesterday.

https://twitter.com/UNHCRLibya/status/1238203112512524288

Yesterday, leaders of several African countries announced that they would hold Libyan reconciliation talks in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa in July. After meeting in the Congo, Congolese President Denis Sassou-Guesso, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno, Algerian Prime Minister Abdelaziz Djerad and Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat announced the inter-Libyan conference. It is not yet clear who will attend this conference.

Daily Sabah: African leaders to meet for Libya talks 

In a phone conversation yesterday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj to sign a ceasefire agreement that was previously agreed upon in Geneva. She also stressed the importance of signing the ceasefire in a meeting with General Khalifa Haftar in Berlin on Tuesday.

The New York Times: Germany’s Merkel Urges Libyan PM Al-Sarraj to Sign Ceasefire 

 

Political

In reaction to the spread of Covid-19, also known as the Corona virus, the Italian has taken containment measures to slow down the rate of new infections. These measures include:

- Restriction of all travel except for business, health or family reasons which need to be proven

- Temperature controls at train stations, airports, etc.

- Suspension of all business activities, including the closure of bars and restaurants (supermarkets, pharmacies and banks remain open)

- Closing of schools and other public institutions

As a reaction to the situation, also known as the Corona virus, many airlines have cancelled all their flights to Italy. Austria, Switzerland and Slovenia have closed some of their borders with Italy.

The EU is offering 2000€ per person for voluntary returns of migrants on the Greek islands. The money is to be deducted from the 700 million Euro emergency aid for Greece that was promised by the commission earlier this month. The program is planned to run for a month.

The Guardian: Migrants on Greek islands to be offered €2,000 to go home 

 

Press review

The New York Times: ‘We Are Like Animals’: Inside Greece’s Secret Site for Migrants

The Guardian: Detention, torture and killing … how the EU outsourced migration policy

“Protect our laws and humanity!” | Open Letter by 152 Organizations (to the Greek government and EU leaders on the situation at the Evros border and on the Aegean islands)

10/3-20

Libya

 

Khalifa Haftar, Commander of the Libyan National Army, met with French president Emmanuel Macron yesterday. According to a statement by the Elysée, Haftar is willing to sign the ceasefire agreement he previously refused to sign in Moscow and Berlin. He will commit to respecting the agreement under the condition that the Tripoli-based militias loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) do the same, the Elysée announced. Fathi Bachagha, GNA Minister of the Interior, is expected in Paris on March 17.

RFI: Libye: le président français Emmanuel Macron rencontre le maréchal Haftar

Le Figaro: Libye : Macron a reçu le maréchal Haftar, qui s'engage sur le cessez-le-feu

 

SAR

 

The Sea Watch 4 arrived in the port of Burriana for final modifications on Sunday. She is supposed to leave the port for her first mission at the beginning of April.

 

The transfer of the 274 survivors disembarked from the Ocean Viking on February 23 to the hotspot in Pozzallo is starting today. They have been kept in quarantine since disembarkation and will be transferred to other facilities within the coming days. According to La Stampa, no landings in Italy have been reported for this month yet.

La Stampa: Da marzo nessuno sbarco di migranti in Italia [Since March no migrants have landed in Italy]

 

Political context

 

As an outcome of yesterday's meeting between Turkish president Erdoğan and high-level EU officials, both sides have agreed to review the 2016 "migrant deal". Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union, will work with Turkish foreign minister Mesut Çavuşoğlu to clarify the terms of the deal and ensure its implementation.

France24: Turkey’s Erdogan leaves EU talks without agreement on migrants

 

France, Portugal, Finland, Germany and Luxembourg have reportedly offered to take in unaccompanied children from Greek refugee camps. The matter should be discussed at a ministerial meeting in Brussels on Friday.

Reuters: EU tells Turkey to pull migrants back from Greek border

 

According to Human Rights Watch, approximately 450 people who reached Lesvos by sea since March 1st are being detained on a Greek navy vessel in Mytilene Harbor, Lesvos, without permission to apply for asylum. HRW and several reporters claim to have been denied access to these people.

HRW: Greece/EU: Allow New Arrivals to Claim Asylum

9/3-20

SAR

 

On Friday, the Turkish coast guard announced on Twitter that Turkish president Erdoğan had ordered them to prevent crossings of the Aegean sea at because it is too dangerous. Crossings from Turkey to the Aegean Islands have relatively surged in recent weeks after Turkey declared it would not stop those attempting to reach the European Union. Turkey has since accused Greece of putting lives at risk by trying to damage boats in the water.

 

Deutsche Welle: Erdogan orders coast guard to stop migrants and refugees crossing Aegean

 

Close to 600 people trying to flee Libya by sea were returned to the Libyan shore in the last week of February and first week of March, as the IOM reported.

https://twitter.com/IOM_Libya/status/1232671774573256704?s=19

https://twitter.com/IOM_Libya/status/1233104322952617990?s=19

https://twitter.com/IOM_Libya/status/1234588900598915076?s=19

 

According to the latest UNHCR Update on Libya, the Libyan Coast Guard intercepted a total of 2,168 people trying to cross the Mediterranean. You can find a PDF of the update attached to this email.

 

Two boats carrying a total of 115 survivors were rescued by the Spanish Coast Guard and disembarked in Málaga, South Spain, on Saturday night according the Red Cross in Málaga.

 

According to the IOM, a shipwreck that occurred off Libya in February and other recent maritime incidents have raised the estimated death toll of those trying to cross the Mediterranean to over 20,000 since 2014.

IOM: Shipwreck Off Coast of Libya Pushes Migrant Deaths on the Mediterranean Past 20,000 Mark

 

The Turkish Coast Guard rescued 60 people of Afghan nationality from a rubber boat off Turkey’s Aegean coast on Sunday.

Anadolu Agency: Turkey rescues 60 migrants from boats off Aegean coast

 

The Maritime Service of the Spanish Guardia Civil rescued 18 people from a boat near the coast of Granada on Sunday.

EFE: Llegan al Puerto de Motril (Granada) 18 magrebíes rescatados de una patera

 

Libya

According to the Libya Observer and the land border manager of the Algerian border town Debdeb, Libya has closed its border crossing point with Algeria in Debdeb in an attempt to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

 

According to the Libya Observer, Haftar’s forces have been increasing their attacks in Tripoli with two civilians killed on Sunday.

 

Earlier this month United Nations special envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salamé, resigned, citing health/stress concerns.

 

Political context

 

Turkish president Erdoğan is in Brussels today to discuss the situation in Syria and the migration agreement with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and President of the European Council Charles Michel. Erdoğan has expressed hopes to receive more international support while EU officials have said that such support would depend on Turkey ceasing to “blackmail” the EU.

Reuters: Exclusive: EU fumes at Turk migration ‘blackmail’, mulls more money for Ankara

Zeit Online: Erdoğan will mit von der Leyen über Flüchtlinge verhandeln

 

The German government has announced its willingness to take in some of the most vulnerable children from overcrowded camps on the Greek Aegean islands. Germany is seeking a “coalition of the willing” to assist between 1,000 – 1,500 children identified as being particularly in need.

Deutsche Welle: Germany open to resettling children from Greek refugee camps

 

Press review

 

InfoMigrants: The impact of the coronavirus outbreak on migrants

The New Humanitarian: Briefing: A manufactured refugee crisis at the Greek-Turkish border

Human Rights Watch: Interview: Libya’s Chaos Explained

Politico: Danish boat in Aegean refused order to push back rescued migrants

IOM: Shipwreck Off Coast of Libya Pushes Migrant Deaths on the Mediterranean Past 20,000 Mark

The GuardianChild dies off Lesbos in first fatality since Turkey opened border

 

By Miodrag Soric, Deutsche Welle journalist onboard the Ocean Viking in Februar (selection):

From sea rescue to quarantine: A visual diary from the Ocean Viking

Kommentar: Die tägliche Katastrophe vor der Küste Libyens [Comment: The daily catastrophe off the coast of Libya]

Mit der "Ocean Viking" auf Seenotrettung im Mittelmeer [Sea Rescue in the Mediterranean onboard the Ocean Viking]

Ocean Viking saves 182 people in distress on Mediterranean

21/2-20    The Ocean Viking’s race against time, en videoartikel från journalisten Miodrag Soric ombord

13/2-20

Den politiska kontexten samt räddningsorganisationer och deras fartyg:

 

 

Artiklar:

“Italy is prepared to consider a resumption of maritime patrols in the Mediterranean, a senior official said, but diplomats said Austria is sticking to its objections, in a blow to European efforts to uphold a U.N. arms embargo on Libya.

Alleged Libyan torturer arrested in southern Italy, InfoMigrants/ANSA

“A Somali youth accused Alhasaeri M. of torturing migrants at the "Safe House." The Somali was rescued at the end of January by the Ocean Viking migrant rescue ship with others and taken to the city of Taranto in southern Italy.”

-Libya: Security Council demands commitment to ‘a lasting ceasefire’, UN

“After what has reportedly been weeks of diplomatic negotiation, the UN Security Council passed a resolution on Wednesday aimed at stemming rising violence across Libya, demanding the warring parties commit to “a lasting ceasefire” according to terms agreed by military representatives from both sides at recent talks in Geneva.”

I dubbi sulle modifiche al memorandum con la Libia sui migranti, Internazionale

-Onboard Moonbird, a plane looking for migrants in the Mediterranean, Irish Times

-‘Our Hearts Are Dead.’ After 9 Years of Civil War, Libyans Are Tired of Being Pawns in a Geopolitical Game of Chess, Time

 

12/2-20

Den politiska kontexten samt räddningsorganisationer och deras fartyg:

 

The Open Arms is currently sailing towards Barcelona, Spain, for a technical stopover as well.

  • According to international and Italian media, Italian senators voted today to lift immunity for Matteo Salvini over accusations he illegally detained survivors at sea last year (Gregoretti case). The result of the vote is due to be formally announced around 1800 GMT but a Reuters/AFP tally of the count showed a majority in favor of removing Salvini's legal protection as a former minister.

Artiklar:

-        Italy Salvini: Senate votes for far-right leader to face trial, BBC

11/2-20

Den politiska kontexten samt räddningsorganisationer och deras fartyg:

 

Central Mediterranean:

 

Western Mediterranean:

 

Artiklar:

UN refugee agency: Major rise in migrants stopped off Libya, AP

90 migrants intercepted in and near English Channel, InfoMigrants (07/02/20)

As humanitarians, we cannot abandon Libya – to leave now would be a dereliction of duty, by Filippo Grandi (UNHCR), The Telegraph

31/1-20

Den politiska kontexten samt räddningsorganisationer och deras fartyg:

 

Artiklar:

30/1-20

Den politiska kontexten samt räddningsorganisationer och deras fartyg:

  • Several posts and audiovisual material have been posted yesterday on social media platforms, picturing Turkish military navy vessels performing rescues/intercepting and taking back to Libya people from boats in distress, off the Libyan coast, with the help of the Libyan coast guard.
    Please note that we are not commenting publicly as we don't have enough cross-checked and thorough information at this stage.
  • Disembarkation of 403 rescued people from the Ocean Viking was completed yesterday around 11am in Taranto (Italy). The Ocean Viking departed from Taranto yesterday around 17h00 and is now en-route to Marseille for an approx. 2 weeks port call including the ship’s annual engine service. A lot of Press presence upon disembarkation. Both journalists that were onboard disembarked in Italy.
    Below in the press review section you can see various mentions especially in Italian press and TV.  
    You can also have a look here to a recap-video of the 5 nighttime rescues of the Ocean Viking, in less than 72h.
  • Open Arms SAR ship performed another rescue yesterday of 45 people and has now a total of 282 rescued people onboard. The NGO said yesterday that some medical evacuations might be needed. 

Av journalister ombord:

Artiklar:

29/1-20

Den politiska kontexten samt räddningsorganisationer och deras fartyg:

 

The Ocean Viking arrived in the port of Taranto (Italy) at around 9am this morning and disembarked following XX hours the 403 remaining rescued people.

Libyan coast guard and Turkish navy frigate, TCG Gazientep intercepted 30 people and brought them back to Tripoli.

Alan Kurdi SAR ship of Sea-Eye NGO was instructed to disembark their remaining 77 rescued people in Malta.

 

Av journalister ombord:

  • L’Espresso blog (Italian from journalist onboard) latest entry: “Princess” 

Artiklar:

Extramatrial:

28/1-20

Den politiska kontexten samt räddningsorganisationer och deras fartyg:

 

 

Av journalister ombord:

Artiklar:

Extramaterial:

24/1-20

Den politiska kontexten samt räddningsorganisationer och deras fartyg:

 

The Ocean Viking left has performed a difficult rescue operation that was completed at 5am this morning. 92 people were rescued from a rubber boat in distress and all the rescued people including 4 pregnant women and 32 unaccompanied minors were safely brought onboard the Ocean Viking.

 

Av journalister ombord:

  • L’Espresso blog (Italian from journalist onboard-Interview to SAR Viviana yesterday): Mare Amarum – yesterday's blog entry
  • L’Espresso blog: new entry on the rescue – Hold me tight
  • TG Zero Radio Capital (Italian from journalist onboard): podcast/diary entry
  • Expresso (Portuguese journalists onboard): New entry #10 & #11 – Find full article’s PDF attached


 

Artiklar:

Extramaterial:

23/1-20

Den politiska kontexten samt räddningsorganisationer och deras fartyg:

 

According to Turkish news outlets, General Khalifa Haftar bombed Tripoli’s Mitiga airport today with 6 military-grade Grad rockets. GNA forces spokesman, Mohammed Gnunu, branded a "flagrant threat" to the safety of air traffic and a "new violation" of the ceasefire. He said the rockets were fired by the "militia" of the "war criminal Haftar", referring to rogue military commander Haftar that have been battling to take the capital. Airport management said flights would be suspended indefinitely.

The Ocean Viking left the port of Pozzallo (Sicily) today at 07:45am, following the disembarkation of 39 rescued people yesterday morning and is now heading back to the Libyan SRR. Journalists Caterina Bonvicini and Claudia Bradao remained onboard the ship.

 

Av journalister ombord:

  • L’Espresso blog (Italian from journalist onboard): And everyone started to dance
  • Expresso (Portuguese journalists onboard): New entry #08 – Find full article’s PDF attached

Artiklar:

22/1-20

Den politiska kontexten samt räddningsorganisationer och deras fartyg:

 

Av journalister ombord:

Artiklar:

Extramaterial:                                                                                                                             

20/1-20

Den politiska kontexten samt räddningsorganisationer och deras fartyg:

 

During yesterday’s Berlin Conference on Libya’s conflict, some of the world’s leaders agreed to uphold a UN arms embargo and end military backing for the North African country’s warring factions. The agreement was signed by 16 countries and organisations setting plans of international efforts to monitor the implementation of restrictions. Both Libyan leaders of GNA and LNA were present but yet refused to meet in the same room, thus all parties of the conference had separate meetings with the two leaders. While both sides to the conflict have agreed to nominate five members to an UN ceasefire monitoring committee, they are still far apart and not yet willing to negotiate directly.


UN general secretary urged world powers to “refrain from interference” in the Libyan conflict, as well as EU Commission’s president stated that “the participants have committed themselves to refrain from any measures and further military support to the parties that would endanger truce; this is an important step forward”.

The Berlin conference was largely designed to discourage external actors from turning Libya into a battleground for rival countries backing either side in the civil war. Both have been bolstered by arms, mercenaries or cash sent from abroad.
A lengthy statement prepared for the conference vowed that renewed UN sanctions would be enforced on any country breaching the arms embargo. It also called for a durable ceasefire, demobilisation and disarming of militias, talks to form a single government, a fair distribution of oil resources, a group of experts to advise on the Libyan economy and free elections to endorse the new government.

 

German Foreign Minister, Heiko Mass, stated that the EU is working on the integration of the agreement of ceasefire obtained in Berlin on Sunday with the respect of the arms-embargo. He also said that they are working on a 2nd update conference in Berlin at the beginning of February at EU ministers of foreign affairs level. The minister also talked about a possible resumption of the EU rescue mission "Sophia". He told ARD television that it is contradictory to criticize the conditions in Libyan refugee camps as "inhumane" and at the same time to allow "people to be taken back there". EU foreign affairs commissioner Josep Borrell and Luxembourg's foreign minister Jean Asselborn also spoke out in favour of a new start for the EU marine mission.

 

Av journalister ombord:

 

Artiklar:

 

Extramaterial:

 

BBC: Medical test ordeal for young African migrants in Spain

17/1-20

Den politiska kontexten samt räddningsorganisationer och deras fartyg:

 

Av journalister ombord:

Artiklar:

Extramaterial:

14/1-20

Den politiska kontexten samt räddningsorganisationer och deras fartyg:

 

Rapportering från Ocean Viking:

 

Artiklar:

Extramaterial:

13/1-19

Den politiska kontexten samt räddningsorganisationer och deras fartyg:

 

Artiklar:

Extramaterial:

9/1-20

Den politiska kontexten samt räddningsorganisationer och deras fartyg:

Artiklar:

8/1-20

Den politiska kontexten samt räddningsorganisationer och deras fartyg:

 

Libyan prime minister hold talks in Brussels today with European officials on the conflict in the north African country. In a period of intense diplomatic activity at EU level, EU Council President Charles Michel, will travel to Turkey on Saturday for a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to reiterate the EU's message of de-escalation. Michel will then make a stop in Cairo to discuss the crisis with Egypt president Abdel Fattah el-Sissi. 

  A large fire broke out inside one of the dormitories in a reception centre in Marsa (Malta) today, with hundreds of migrants/refugees evacuated. No one was hospitalized. Marsa centre is used as an initial reception centre, where migrants who arrive in Malta by sea are housed while their asylum applications are assessed or they are relocated to other EU member states. 

 

Artiklar:

 

 

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7/1-20

Den politiska kontexten samt räddningsorganisationer och deras fartyg:

Artiklar:

Extramaterial:

6/1-20

Den politiska kontexten samt räddningsorganisationer och deras fartyg:

 

Extramaterial:

2/1-20

Den politiska kontexten samt räddningsorganisationer och deras fartyg:

 

  • Today, Head of Ops SOS MEDITERRANEE, Frédéric Penard was interviewed by Radio – Canada: RDI. Interview can be found here https://twitter.com/rdimatin/status/1212725915555377152.
  • Today’s Turkish Parliament has approved a bill to deploy Turkish troops to Libya to back the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli which is battling forces loyal to military commander Khalifa Haftar – rival administration based in Eastern Libya. The agreement made 2 months ago between the two presidents (Turkish and Libyan) will grant a 1 year mandate of deployment of Turkish troops.
  • According to British media, the number of people making sea-crossing attempts from France to the UK through the Channel has quadrupled over the last year. In 2018 the people that were picked up in the Channel by French officials are 586 and in 2019 they were 2,358. Four deaths were also reported during 2019 in the attempted sea crossings. “In the last year, 55% of the crossings have failed because of the strong mobilisation of French forces on land and sea,” said the Pas-de-Calais region prefect, Fabien Sudry.
  • Associate Press journalist, Renata Brito, that was onboard the OV in September, published a diagram today showing the “Income from migrant exploitation, aid misuse and fraud in the currency black market helps fund militias in Libya, destabilizing the country and furthering human rights abuses”.
    “Shiponing money from migration” Diagram can be found here.

 

Artiklar:

 

Extramaterial:

Nyårsafton -19

Den politiska kontexten samt räddningsorganisationer och deras fartyg:

 

  • On Sunday night, 19 people were rescued in the English channel about 7km from the coast of Dunkirk. A French Navy helicopter, a customs patrol vessel, a rescue vessel of French sea rescue organization SNSM and a fishing vessel were engaged to render assistance. The rescued people, some of whom suffered from hypothermia, were brought back to France. Early on Sunday morning, rescuers already assisted about 30 people in distress in two separate operations.

 

  • At least 24,796 people have reached the Spanish coasts by boat in 2019. Arrivals by sea have dropped by more than 50% in comparison to last year. Despite this general decline, arrivals to the Canary Islands have increased by more than 70%. While the total number of deaths at sea has decreased, the mortality rate has increased, meaning that a higher percentage of people attempting to cross the sea for the Spanish coasts die at sea.

 

  • „Senior Turkish sources“ told Reuters that Turkey is considering sending allied Syrian fighters to Libya in support of the government in Tripoli. No Syrian fighters are deployed yet and no official decision has been taken. The deployment bill presented to the Turkish parliament yesterday warned that Turkish business interests are threatened by Haftar’s army. The Turkish parliament is expected to vote on the bill on Thursday.

 

  • According to journalist Sally Hayden  the UNHCR will stop providing food at the Gathering and Departure Facility (GDF) in Tripoli tomorrow. The New Humanitarian reported on the shutdown of the GDF earlier this month.

 

  • According to an in-depth piece by the Associated Press, millions of euros budgeted by the UN to feed migrants in detention centers were diverted to fund militias and warlords. The piece also highlights how militias pay the Libyan Coast Guard to intercept people trying to flee Libya and bring them back to the detention centers. Similar cases have been reported after disembarkation in Zawiya, Zuwara and Tripoli.

 

 

Artiklar:

 

AP News Migrant in Libya relives brutal detention through sketches

InfoMigrants En images : 10 événements qui ont marqué l’actualité migratoire de la décennie [In pictures: 10 events that marked migration news this 

Avvenire L’inchiesta. Migranti, armi e petrolio, tre mesi di misteri su Bija [The investigation. Migrants, weapons and oil, three months of mysteries about Bija]

30/12-19

Den politiska kontexten samt räddningsorganisationer och deras fartyg:

 

 

 

  • According to the latest UNHCR update, 8,965 people were intercepted/rescued by the LCG in 2019.

          According to the Hellenic (Greek) Coast Guard, at least 412 people reached the Agean Islands over the weekend despite adverse weather conditions.

 

Artiklar:

 

 

 

  • Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has expressed his wish to participate in the UN-brokered conference on Libya in Berlin in January. Libya being a source of instability in close proximity of Greece, his country wants „a say“ in the resolution of the conflict.

 

  • Today the Turkish government has sent a motion to the Turkish parliament that would, if approved, authorize the deployment of troops to Libya. The outcome of the vote will depend on votes of the opposition (Republican People’s Party, CHP). Ünal Çeviköz, CHP deputy chair responsible for foreign relations, has voiced his party’s objection to Turkey’s military involvement in Libya.

 

25/12-19

Räddningsorganisationer och deras fartyg:

 

Artiklar:

Le Monde Plus de 160 migrants secourus en Méditerranée débarquent en Italie [More than 160 migrants rescued at sea disembark in Italy]

ZDF.de Am Weihnachtsmorgen: Neuer Einsatz der „Ocean Viking“ [On Christmas morning: „Ocean Viking“ continues mission]

Die Zeit Keine Pause für die „Ocean Viking“ [No break for the „Ocean Viking“]

Welt „Ocean Viking“ erreicht Tarent mit 159 Migranten an Bord [„Ocean Viking“ reaches Taranto with 159 migrants on board]

Al Jazeera 162 migrants and refugees rescued off Libya land in Italy: NGO

Avvenire La storia di Simba. Il piccolo salvato in mare e ora accolto al Sermig di Torino [Simba’s story. The baby rescued at sea is welcomed at the Sermig (a youth faith group) in Turin]

16/12-19

Räddningsorganisationer och deras fartyg:

  • The Ocean Viking left Marseille back to the Central Mediterranean on Saturday. The Open Arms left Naples on Sunday morning, heading to the Central Mediterranean.
  • The Alan Kurdi is preparing to leave Palermo in the next days. You can follow Sally Hayden, Irish Times journalist who has been covering Libya, migration and SAR topics extensively in the past few months, on Twitter. She is currently on board the Alan Kurdi.

 

Libya

 

  • On Saturday, Libya's eastern military commander, General Khalifa Haftar, who began a fresh push to try to capture Tripoli during the past several days, was reported to have advanced in and around the city (VOA).

 

  • Turkey moved closer to military support for Libya’s internationally recognized government late on Saturday when a bilateral deal that provides for a quick reaction force if requested by Tripoli was sent to parliament (Reuters). Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly held talks with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj in Istanbul on Sunday, just days after Khalifa Haftar announced a "decisive battle" to wrest the capital of Tripoli from Sarraj's government (France 24).

 

  • According to Saudi-owned Al Arabiya 3 days ago, "Western diplomats gathered in the city of Janzour in preparation for their departure from Libya by sea".

 

Artiklar:

SAR

++ Al Jazeera - Q&A: 'Complete disregard for migrants dying on the Mediterranean' [SOS MEDITERRANEE mention]

(By Faras Ghani, on board Ocean Viking in November) Al Jazeera spoke to Nick Romaniuk, SARCo onboard Ocean Viking, about the criminalization of SAR NGOs, the presence of the Libyan coastguard, deaths at sea, and how this job affects rescuers mentally and physically.

The Irish Times - Christmas on the Mediterranean – a month on a migrant rescue ship (By Sally Hayden, currently on board Alan Kurdi)

The Guardian - Greece says it's 'reached limit' as arrivals of refugees show no sign of slowing

El País - Historia de un naufragio (on the shipwreck which occurred earlier this month off Mauritania)

 

Libya

Reuters - Turkey to sign off on military pledge to Libya

Euronews - What are the implications of Turkey's military pledge to Libya? | Euronews answers

Los Angeles Times - Turkey doubles down on the fight in Libya, but its sights are elsewhere

13/12-19

Den politiska kontexten:

 

 

 

  • Khalifa Haftar, Commander of the self-styled „Libyan National Army“, has announced a decisive battle to capture Tripoli in a televised address yesterday. In the past, announcements of military action by the LNA have often resulted in little change on the battlefield. The Economist highlights the involvement of Russian snipers with the LNA while Bloomberg provides a broader break-down of the proxy conflict that the war in Libya has turned into.

 

 

 

Artiklar: 

InfoMigrants No, migrants in Libyan detention centers are not more likely to be resettled in Europe

The Irish Times Europe’s policy on refugees has departed from core values

12/12-19

Den politiska kontexten:

 

Artiklar:

 

InfoMigrants Six migrants die of exposure in Turkish-Greek border region

France24 Turkey builds Libya ties in reaction to regional rivals

UNHCR Libya: Activities at Disembarkation, Monthly Update - November 2019

11/12-19

SAR/political context:

 

 

 

 

 

  • On Monday, the Panel of Experts on Libya presented a report to the UN Security Council. This report contains detailed information of smuggling, trafficking, migration routes, detention centers and interceptions in Libya (pages 14ff.).

 

Press review:

[Must Read]: Al Jazeera ‚Between life and death‘: Rescued migrants recall Libya ‚hell‘ Article by Faras Ghani, onboard the OV in November. Contains numerous quotes by rescued people and a video with rescue footage, scenes from onboard the Ocean Viking, and an interview with SAR team member Théo.

France24 Libya: The infernal trap

CNN Good Samaritans helped thousands at sea. Now they're on trial

Internazionale Le altre madri, storie di donne costrette a emigrare [The other mothers, stories of women forced to emigrate] By Annalisa Camilli, journalist onboard the OV in November

Morning Star ‘It shouldn’t be civil society versus European governments’ Including an interview with David Starke.

The Correspondent Europe spends billions stopping migration. Good luck figuring out where the money actually goes.

Migazin Juristin: Seenot ist nicht erst, wenn Menschen um ihr Leben kämpfen [Jurist: Distress at sea doesn’t only start once people are fighting for their lives]

Interview by Philipp Saure (onboard the OV in November) with a lawyer explaining what distress at sea means and why unseaworthy boats are distress cases long before they capsize/deflate.

6/12-19

Den politiska kontexten samt räddningsorganisationer och deras fartyg:

 

  • According to AlarmPhone, Spanish Salvamento Marítimo are searching for 2 boats carrying a total of approx. 55 people who departed from Morocco on Monday, December 2nd.

 

  • The death toll of yesterday’s shipwreck off the coast of Mauritania has risen to 64 as more bodies have been recovered by the Mauritanian authorities.

 

  • Last week, the Tribunal of Rome published its judgment on the case of fourteen Eritrean citizens who were rescued by the Italian Coast Guard on 27 June 2009 and then transferred to a Libyan Coast Guard vessel and brought back to Libya. The Tribunal (Ordinary Court) reiterated the findings of the prominent 2012 case Hirsi Jamaa v. Italy (European Court of Human Rights) which ruled that collective expulsions (‘push-backs’) are unlawful. The fourteen Eritrean plaintiffs will receive compensation for the collective expulsion and will be granted entry to Italy where they can pursue asylum procedures.

 

  • Greece has announced the expulsion of the Libyan ambassador. The reason for the expulsion is an accord signed on November 27 between Libya and Turkey mapping out the maritime boundaries of both states. Greek officials have called the accord a “blatant violation of international law” and “legally invalid”, saying it ignores the existence of Crete and other Greek islands between the coasts of Turkey and Libya.

 

Artiklar:

Die Zeit Deal zur Flüchtlingsverteilung lockt nicht mehr Migranten nach Europa [Disembarkation deal does not constitute a pull factor]

Il Fatto Quotidiano Lampedusa, dentro l’hotspot che va a pezzi tra rifiuti e sovraffollamento: “Condizioni disumane” [Lampedusa, inside the hotspot that is falling apart amidst waste and overcrowding: "Inhuman conditions"]

Al Jazeera Libyan officials cite evidence of Russian mercenaries in war

Die Tageszeitung (taz) Der andere Weg nach Spanien [The other route to Spain] Article on the measures taken by Spain to prevent migration from Western Africa to Spain. Highlights the presence of the Guardia Civil off the Senegalese coast and the cooperation between Frontex Operation Hera and Mauritania.

IOM UN Migration Chief Appeals for Solidarity and Support to Ease Migration Pressures in Greece

5/12-19

Den politiska kontexten samt räddningsorganisationer och deras fartyg:

  • At least 57 people died in a shipwreck in the Atlantic ocean off the Mauritanian coast near Nouadhibou yesterday. The boat carrying a total of 150 people had departed from Gambia last Thursday. Sailing close to the coast on its way to the Canary Islands, the boat hit a reef and capsized last night. Only those who could swim reached the coast. Some sources report the number of survivors to be 73, some claim 83 people survived. The search for bodies continues.

 

  • 30 people, among them 3 women and two babies, were rescued by the Spanish Coast Guard and disembarked on the island of Gran Canaria yesterday.

 

 

Artiklar:

La Repubblica Migranti, l’Unhcr chiede la chiusura totale dei centri di detenzione in Libia: “Situazione terribile” [UNHCR demands the complete closing of detention centers in Libya: “Terrible situation”]

According to Vincent Cochetel in the past three to four months, there have been cases in which detainees have paid to be allowed to stay in Libyan detention centres. Their hope is that from inside the detention centre, they will have a higher chance of being redistributed by the UNHCR. Another reason, according to Cochetel, is that outside the detention centres they fear for their lives even more.

InfoMigrants UN Special Envoy calls on EU states to offer more resettlement places for 2020

Vincent Cochetel called on EU states to offer more resettlement places and financial support to the UNHCR. So far only Canada, Rwanda, Niger and Italy have offered to take in 2,390 people in need of protection in Libya.

InfoMigrants À Tripoli, le centre du HCR fermera ses portes début 2020 [UNHCR transit centre in Tripoli to close its doors in early 2020]

The UNHCR Gathering and Departure Facility (GDF) in Tripoli is to be dismantled by the end of the year. Vulnerable refugees in resettlement programmes are to be evacuated to other destinations directly. The provision of services including food distribution was supposed to be “phased out” at the beginning of next year so that people would voluntarily leave the centre. But according to InfoMigrants, the UNHCR has already ceased food distribution.

4/12-19

Den politiska kontexten samt räddningsorganisationer och deras fartyg:

 

 

 

 

Artiklar:

 

InfoMigrants Pope sends Aide to collect 33 migrants from Greece

Pope Francis has sent a Vatican official to Moria to facilitate the resettlement of 33 migrants to Rome. According to Avvenire, Pope Francis will host a conference on, among other things, migration and cooperation in Bari in February 2020. The catholic churches of all Mediterranean states will be represented.

 

Sueddeutsche Zeitung München übernimmt Patenschaft für Rettungsschiff „Ocean Viking“ [Munich takes on sponsorship for rescue ship „Ocean Viking“]

The city of Munich has taken on a sponsorship for the Ocean Viking. Since a city in Bavaria cannot legally donate directly to charity, the city wants to organize charity activities as part of this "sponsorship" to collect money for SOS Méditerranée.

 

Internazionale La solitudine dei soccorritori [The solitude of the rescuers]

Article written by Annalisa Camilli onboard the Ocean Viking about the rescuers’ past experiences on the Aquarius, criminalization and the lack of coordination for SAR in the Central Mediterranean.

 

Human Rights Watch Joint Letter on Establishing a Commission of Inquiry for Libya 

A number of Libyan and international NGOs including Amnesty Internat