According to information provided to me today by the NATO Public Affairs Office for Operation Unified Protector, most of the migrants who were rescued on 10-11 July by a NATO warship are still on board the Spanish Navy frigate. An unspecified number of the migrants in need of immediate medical attention have been “off-loaded to safety” to an unidentified location.
While the NATO Public Affairs Office did not identify the NATO ship or its nationality, the Spanish Defence Ministry and Navy have previously confirmed that the Spanish frigate Almirante Juan de Borbón is the NATO ship that performed the rescue.
According to NATO, “the NATO Frigate responded [on 10 July] to a vessel in distress some 75 miles off the coast of Libya. A NATO ship [then] … provided medical support, food and offered mechanical assistance to the distressed civilians. [On the] 11th of July, the migrants (approximately 100), Ghanaians, Tunisians and Libyans, were transferred onto the NATO ship in accordance with the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) protocol…”
Most of the migrants remain on board the Spanish frigate. NATO says that “the appropriate legal, diplomatic and military authorities are being consulted to determine future course of action.”
I have asked for further information regarding to what location the migrants who were in need of immediate medical attention have been taken. The possibilities presumably are another ship with appropriate medical facilities, Tunisia, Libya, Italy, Malta, or Spain.
Click here for my previous post on this topic.
Here is an op-ed article from Thursday’s New York Times by Hans Lucht, an anthropologist at the University of Copenhagen and author of the forthcoming “Darkness Before Daybreak: African Migrants Living on the Fringes in Southern Italy Today.” (Scheduled for release Dec. 2011.)
“…. In the long run, Europe should learn from the situation in Libya that paying dictators to make ‘problems’ disappear is not only morally bankrupt but also short-sighted. European leaders must seek commitments from any post-Qaddafi government to handle the challenges of international migration in an orderly and humane fashion. Instead of banishing asylum-seekers to detention camps in the desert, Europe should offer support to Tunisia and Egypt, which are struggling to assist refugees from Libya, and to southern European countries….”
Click here for article.
Italian Interior Minister Roberto Maroni has completed a visit to Ghana and is now in Niger. A trip to Senegal will occur soon. In Ghana he signed an agreement to increase cooperation on combating illegal immigration, human trafficking, and other forms of organized crime.
Maroni is quoted as saying ”We have excellent bilateral agreements with the African countries of the Mediterranean region, from Morocco to Egypt. However, these are often transit countries for illegal immigrants who in reality originate in sub-Saharan African states. This is why now, while awaiting action from Europe, we want to extend security measures to that area not only regarding immigration, but also regarding the issues of drug trafficking and terrorism.”
ANSAmed reported that Maroni said Italy’s agreement with Libya has reduced the numbers of illegal migrants arriving in Italy and that “[n]ow the focus is to completely eliminate their arrival by blocking the departure of these ‘journeys of hope’.”
Click here and here for articles.