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Aid ship carrying 64 refugees stranded in Mediterranean

April 4, 2019 at 9:15 pm

Refugees are seen after being rescued from the Mediterranean Sea on 15 June 2017 [Marcus Drinkwater/Anadolu Agency]

A humanitarian ship with 64 rescued migrants on board was stuck in Mediterranean and has been denied safe harbour, a German humanitarian group said, Anadolu Agency has reported.

“The situation on board is difficult, rain has just started and a storm is coming. People have to sleep on deck and the boat is completely full. We have requested a port of safety everywhere but have not been allowed to enter anywhere yet,” Carlotta Weibl, spokeswoman for Sea-Eye, told Anadolu Agency.

On Wednesday, the ship named Alan Kurdi belonging to the German humanitarian group, rescued 64 irregular migrants, including 12 women, one child and one infant off the Libyan coast.

According to a statement by the Sea-Eye, Malta, Italy and Libya have denied accepting migrants to their lands.

In a latest Twitter post, Sea-Eye said they are in a close contact with the German Federal Foreign Office.

READ: Floods in north Syria destroy camps hosting 40,000 people

On Wednesday, Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said the German-flagged ship should go to Hamburg as it carries German staffers.

“Since the boat was unable to maneuver and would not be able to reach a safe place, we decided to evacuate the rubber boat immediately.” Jan Ribbeck, head of operations at Sea-Eye, said.

“However, the ship is unsuitable to accommodate so many people, permanently,” Ribbeck added.

Another 50 migrants, including three children, are still missing off the Libyan coast since Monday night, Sea-Eye noted.

READ: 12 dead in Syria’s Al-Hawl camp as refugee numbers exceed 72,000

More than 250 international non-governmental organisations — including Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, Sea Watch — wrote an open letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday and asked for her support on refugee policy regulations of the European Union.

The organisations listed three requests from Merkel; an emergency action plan for refugee boats, safe harbours for refugees and no return to Libya.

Some 30,510 migrants died between 2014 and 2018 while making the treacherous journey to Europe, the UN agency reported early January.