European-based non-governmental organizations (NGOs) recently rescued more than 1,000 irregular migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, the Italian news agency ANSA reported Thursday.
The Sea-Eye 4 migrant rescue ship owned by the German Sea-Eye association, which was founded with the aim of finding people in distress at sea and saving them, rescued a total of 800 migrants in two wooden boats in Malta's search-and-rescue (SAR) area in the Mediterranean.
In October 2020, Sea-Eye purchased an offshore supply vessel built in 1972 with the support of the United4Rescue sea rescue coalition to convert it for rescue operations, according to Sea-Eye’s website.
The design of the Sea-Eye 4 vessel is very well suited for sea rescue operations and offers plenty of space for providing first aid to those rescued.
Also, the French private rescue group SOS Mediterranee in its Ocean Viking rescue vessel picked up 245 migrants off the coast of Libya trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea.
SOS Mediterranee is a European maritime-humanitarian organization. It was founded by European citizens who chartered a rescue vessel in order to save people in distress in the central Mediterranean, the world’s most deadly migration route, according to the NGO’s website.
According to data from Italy’s Interior Ministry, as of Nov. 3, the number of irregular migrants arriving in Italy over the sea since the beginning of the year has reached 53,836.
- Irregular migration problem in Mediterranean
The region of the Mediterranean between Italy, Malta and Libya has come to the forefront in recent years as one of the irregular migration routes frequently used in the transition from Africa to Europe.
During the autumn and winter months when sea and weather conditions are good, migration activity on this route intensifies.
Instead of European states, the European-origin NGOs rescue irregular migrants who call for help at sea.
The first place where migrants who can cross the Mediterranean or are rescued set foot in in Europe is Lampedusa Island, the closest land part of Italy to northern Africa.
*Writing and contributions by Jeyhun Aliyev from Ankara