The Italian authorities have assigned the Sicilian town of Messina as a port for the Basque ship Aita Mari to land the 158 shipwrecked rescuers in the last days in the Mediterranean, the non-governmental organization that owns the ship reported.
The Guipuzcoan tuna vessel, converted into a rescue vessel, helped 65 people drifting on a wooden ship (one woman, fifty men and fourteen boys) last Monday, who joined the 93 (16 women, three of them pregnant, 40 men, and 37 minors) who rescued Sunday in the same area.
According to the organization Humanitarian Maritime Rescue (SMH) in a note, it is expected that in the next few hours, probably on Thursday, Aita Mari will disembark all of them at the “safe point” of Messina, pending the evolution of the part weather that could delay the blast.
The statement clarifies that, in this way, “the suffering of this group of men, women and children who were drifting” will end “by the ship of the SMH association.
“The news has been received on board with joy since the conditions were getting worse in the last hours due to the coming storm,” the brief details.
“From SMH -he adds-, we want to remember that rescue in international waters has to be done in compliance with the Convention on the Status of Refugees, according to which, no rescued person can be returned to a place from which he flees.”
“Therefore, European states must be responsible for guaranteeing the lives of all people in the Mediterranean,” the statement said.
Humanitarian Maritime Rescue recalls that its presence in the Mediterranean “serves to demonstrate how the European Union breaches this convention.”