Rome (dpa) – After several days and nights in the Mediterranean Sea, the German ship Sea-Eye 4 with more than 800 rescued migrants on board has been allowed to dock in Sicily.
The Italian authorities gave the volunteers permission to enter the port of the city of Trapani in the west of the island this Sunday.
“We are relieved and overjoyed that the people will finally be safe in Italy,” said Gorden Isler, chairman of the German rescue organization Sea-Eye.
The organization, which is based in the Bavarian city of Regnsburg, said it had brought more than 800 people on board during seven missions in the past few days – including more than 200 minors and five pregnant women.
Among the volunteers, there is relief but also anger that they had to hold out at sea for several days before they were given a safe harbour.
Isler accused the island state of Malta of “failing to provide assistance.” It had simply not responded to emergency calls during the week.
He said the EU must urge the member state to respond to calls for help again – “regardless of the colour of the skin or the origin of the people who find themselves in distress at sea.”
According to the rescue organization, half of the migrants were taken out of a wooden boat which had taken on water.
In addition to the Sea-Eye 4, the Ocean Viking of the European aid organization SOS Mediterranee was also operating in the central Mediterranean Sea between southern Italy, Malta and North Africa. The ship has more than 300 rescued people on board.
Especially from Africa, many dare to make the dangerous crossing from Libya or Tunisia towards Malta and Italy because they hope for a better life in the EU.
Photo The Sea Eye 4 ship carrying some 850 migrants rescued in various rescue operations carried out in the last few days in the Mediterranean sea, docks in the port of Trapani, Sicily island, southern Italy, 07 November 2021. EPA-EFE/CARMELO IMBESI