With two private rescue ships, more than 500 refugees and migrants have been brought ashore in Italy after being rescued in the Mediterranean Sea. The "Humanity 1" of the Berlin association SOS Humanity reached the city of Bari on the Adriatic Sea on Sunday, where the 261 people were able to disembark the ship. MSF's Norwegian-flagged Geo Barents docked in Salerno, south of Naples, with 248 migrants.
The women, children and men who left the two ships had been picked up by rubber dinghies and wooden boats in several operations off the Libyan coast. According to the crew, 93 minors were also on board the "Humanity 1", most of them unaccompanied by adult relatives. According to these reports, many people bear traces of torture. Some said they had been sexually abused. The organization named countries such as Syria, Egypt, Cameroon and the Ivory Coast as countries of origin.
Unlike in November, when the ships had to wait a long time for a port due to a dispute with the new right-wing government in Rome and then not all were initially allowed to disembark, things went faster this time. After just a few days, the cities of Salerno and Bari were assigned, although these were far away for the ships. According to SOS Humanity, the journey took more than 40 hours in heavy seas. Many got seasick.
The Ministry of the Interior in Rome said that the government's basic stance had not changed. The crews used the weather forecast as a "pretext" to report emergencies on board. Because the ports and facilities for receiving refugees in Sicily are overcrowded, the ships have been assigned to other cities. In addition, Rome once again accused the organizations of encouraging the dangerous flight across the Mediterranean. They are therefore a decisive factor in illegal immigration.
Meanwhile, more migrants are reaching the Italian shores without help. On Saturday evening, a fishing boat with about 400 people on board was rescued by the Coast Guard and escorted to the port of Reggio Calabria. According to the Interior Ministry, more than 97,000 people crossed the Mediterranean to Italy this year.