MSF vessel Aquarius ends rescue operations in the Mediterranean


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The Aquarius has been caught in Marseille since its registration was revoked

Docs With out Borders (MSF) says it has been pressured to finish rescue operations within the Mediterranean carried out by the vessel, Aquarius.

The medical charity blamed “sustained assaults on search and rescue by European states”.

Aquarius has been caught in Marseille since its registration was revoked.

It has helped save migrants making the harmful crossing to Europe from Libya and elsewhere however has confronted robust opposition, notably from Italy.

Inside Minister Matteo Salvini has accused charities operating rescue ships of collaborating with human traffickers working out of Libya to run a “taxi service” to Italian ports.

Aquarius had been the final charity rescue ship nonetheless working.

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Saying the choice to finish its operations, MSF stated EU nations, spearheaded by Italy, had failed to offer sufficient devoted rescue capability of their very own, then had actively sabotaged the efforts of others attempting to avoid wasting lives within the Mediterranean, the BBC’s Europe correspondent, Damian Grammaticas reviews.

In a tweet, MSF Sea stated “sustained assaults” by European nations “will imply extra deaths at sea, and extra pointless deaths that may go unwitnessed”.

Aquarius has been laid up in Marseille for months, after Panama revoked its registration – citing intense political strain from Italian authorities.

A de-flagged vessel can’t legally set sail.

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Media captionIn June, the BBC visited an empty and troubled Aquarius

Italy has saved up the strain. Final month, prosecutors known as for the seizure of the Aquarius over the alleged dumping of doubtless poisonous waste in its ports. MSF known as the transfer “unfounded and sinister”.

Migrant numbers reaching Italy have fallen considerably this 12 months amid strikes to dismantle smuggling networks in Libya and improve coastguard patrols.

Worldwide Group for Migration (IOM) knowledge says greater than 2,000 individuals have died or are lacking making crossings this 12 months, in comparison with greater than three,000 final 12 months.

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Media captionBBC producer Alva White describes situations on the Aquarius

The Aquarius started operations in 2015 and got here to worldwide consideration over the summer time as Italy closed it ports to migrant rescue ships, leaving the ship stranded at sea with individuals rescued from the water.

Tons of of migrants had been ultimately allowed to disembark within the Spanish port of Valencia in June, after being turned away by Italy and Malta.

Italian coverage is that migrants found at sea must be returned to Libya by that nation’s coastguard.


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