440 migrants saved from boat off the coast of Malta: MSF
Doctors Without Border's ship Geo Barents rescues migrants from the Mediterranean who are seeking a better life in Europe.
Following an 11-hour operation, 440 migrants were rescued from a boat off Malta, as reported by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) on Wednesday.
MSF’s ship Geo Barents received a distress signal while heading to shelter in the Mediterranean. The crew of Geo Barnets responded to the signal and ensued on a 10-hour trip until they finally reached the source.
The team arrived on site at 4:00 am on Tuesday but was unable to complete the rescue mission due to bad weather.
"Unfortunately, the weather did not allow our team to directly perform the rescue, which could have endangered the lives of the people and those of the MSF team," as reported by the organization.
As the weather cleared up, Geo Barents was able to send its speed boats to the vessel by early afternoon. MSF added that during that time, life jackets were distributed to all passengers on the rescued vessel.
🟢 After more than 11 hours of operation, the rescue is now over and a total of 440 people, including 8 women and 30 children, are now safely aboard #GeoBarents and being cared for by the team. pic.twitter.com/f2IFMbwstQ— MSF Sea (@MSF_Sea) April 4, 2023=
A total of 440 people, including 8 women and 30 children, were rescued by MSF.
Rescue teams are facing operational difficulties following the Italian government’s new regulations on life-saving missions. The Geo Barents was detained by Italian authorities in February for allegedly breaking new government rules.
The Italian government accused MSF of failing to share information, such as voyage data recorder information on the position and movement of the ship.
Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, the leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy party, took office in October after promising to curb the number of migrants landing in Italy.
The new law, imposed by Giorgia Meloni’s far-right government, obliges NGO ships to perform 1 rescue at a time.
However, charities only rescue a small percentage of migrant vessels crossing from Africa to Europe. Most are detained by coast guard or Navy vessels.
The far-right government accuses charities of encouraging further migration to the European continent and benefiting people traffickers.
Asylum seekers coming from North Africa made Italy their prime destination due to its close proximity to the African continent.
Tunisia has become a hotspot of 'illegal' migration due to high inflation rates and the inability to secure the IMF's $2 billion bail-out package.
Emmanuel Macron asked for the help of the Tunisian government to help subside the huge influx of migrants escaping the dreads of a failing economy in their country.
In late March, Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said, "For two months we have been saying, in all international forums: we must help Tunisia with financing from the IMF and the World Bank, giving at least the first aid pending reforms and verification of progress."
PM Giorgia Meloni warned that Tunisia's "serious financial problems" risked sparking a "migratory wave" toward Europe.
The bodies of 29 migrants from sub-Saharan African countries, on March 26, were recovered by the Tunisian coast guard after three boats capsized, adding to the death tally of global south residents seeking a better life in Europe.