Mediterranean: Almost 100 people left adrift for 33 hours: non-assistance policies continue to put lives at risk


The New York Times reports on the latest case of non-assistance to people in distress in the Mediterranean, this time involving almost 100 people in a rubber dinghy who were only rescued by the Armed Forces of Malta following intense pressure from activists and civil society groups.

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See: Migrants Adrift Off Malta Called for Help. Then They Waited. And Waited. (New York Times, link):

"The rubber dinghy packed tight with more that 95 people was bobbing helplessly in the Mediterranean on Sunday when the passengers issued a distress call, but help would not come anytime soon.

In the end, it took more than 33 hours — and the pressure of activists and nongovernmental groups — before the Maltese authorities launched a rescue operation.


The migrants on the overcrowded dinghy Sunday contacted Alarm Phone, a watchdog group that often acts as first point of call for migrants adrift in the Mediterranean. The group says it alerted the authorities — but hours later, there was still no rescue in sight.


Not until Monday afternoon did the armed forces of Malta reportedly bring the group to shore.

Activists have lamented the scarcity of independent rescue ships in the central Mediterranean, which has become a major crossing for migrants escaping war-torn Libya, and is one of the world’s most dangerous passages."

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