Sunday, February 21, 2016

The “Aquarius” to the rescue of migrants in the Mediterranean –


by Jean-Francois Rosnoblet

MARSEILLE (Reuters) – The “Aquarius”, a former ship German coastguard 77 meters, will on Saturday heading to Lampedusa, Italy, to carry out a rescue campaign and assistance for migrants attempting to reach European shores.

the Mediterranean, one of the most dangerous roads for candidates for exile has been taken by more than one million migrants last year, 3,772 of which were killed by the association SOS Mediterranean, bringing the operation in partnership with Doctors of the World.

the ” Aquarius “made a stop in Marseille before joining Palermo and Lampedusa where it will from February 25, a mission of three months on the high seas, in three rotations of three weeks.

” the Aquarius will be positioned between Sicily and Libya, in international waters. We will be where there are not many people, closer to the hazard areas, where most wrecks happen to, “said the Press one of the leaders of SOS Mediterranean, Fabienne Lassalle.

rescue operations will be linked to the Maritime rescue Coordination Center (MRCC) based in Rome, which will affect the distress calls from ship .

“they are happy that an association involved in the rescue because they have the feeling that Italy is alone to face this dramatic situation, it was partly abandoned by the Europe, “the commander of the ship, Klaus Vogel.

in all, twenty people will board, expert crew of sea rescue and medical team and Doctors of the World Home.

with four decks and a “clinic”, the ship can accommodate 250 shipwrecked, an ability that can be doubled if necessary.

the medical station can meet the first aid, but also to make deliveries and perform minor surgery. The most serious cases will undergo a medical evacuation.


The collected migrants will remain on average two to three days on the boat before to be either transferred to another vessel or directed to one of the reference Italian ports.

“Our mandate is rescue. We are there to save lives at sea because it This is a humanitarian emergency, “said the president of Médecins du Monde, Françoise Sivignon.

” But we can not do everything, the European authorities must be more involved because you can not not save everyone. people will continue to die at sea, “she says.

the situation is particularly worrying that the mission of Aquarius is limited in time. Lack of money, the ship will remain docked in three months

One million euros -. “Crowfunding” donations and sponsorship account for 98% of the operation’s funding – was harvested from donors 42 countries, mostly in France and Germany, to ensure that the cost of this first release.

“the goal is to sustain the operation and engage with our shipowner for six months following. for this, we need 2.8 million euros, “explains Sophie Beau, Vice President of SOS Mediterranean.

a participatory platform (dons.sosmediterrané has raised 77,000 euros in a week, the equivalent of seven days of rescue at sea.

“the challenge is capital. the period between the spring and summer is the deadliest since this is where there are most crossings attempts, “recalls Sophie Beau.

Between 1 January and 19 February, more than 90,000 migrants have reached Italy and Greece by sea, more than 411 are dead or missing according to the international Organization for migration (IOM).

(Edited by Sophie Louet)


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