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European Rescue Ship with 141 Migrants Still Looking for Safe Place to Dock

A European rescue ship packed with 141 migrants and picked up in the Mediterranean Friday is still looking for a safe place to dock.

The Aquarius, run by SOS Mediterranee, and Doctors Without Borders, said it has been turned down outright by Italy and Malta. The groups accuse both governments of breaking international maritime law that allows ships to head to the closest point of safety.

Italy and its new right-wing government said rescue ships play into the hands of human traffickers who get large sums of money to abandon their passengers at sea.

Malta said it has nothing to do with the ship and that the vessel has no legal standing to enter its ports.

Spain, which let the Aquarius dock in June after nine days at sea, said it is not the safest port because it is not the closest one.

"We're asking all European countries to find a solution. We're asking them to be responsible and find a safe port in the Mediterranean," SOS Mediterranee president Sophie Beau implored Monday.

The Aquarius picked up 141 migrants Friday who were stuck in unstable wooden boats off the Libyan coast.

SOS Mediterranee said most of the migrants came from Somalia and Eritrea and had been held in inhumane conditions in Libya before heading out to sea. Many were suffering from malnutrition.

Thousands of people from sub-Saharan Africa and countries such as Syria and Afghanistan try crossing the Mediterranean every year to escape war, terrorism and poverty for a better life in the European Union.

Source: Voice of America