ROME, 9 JUNE 2018 – The UN refugee agency in Italy has appealed to “states and actors involved” to ” find solutions” to allow migrants and refugees rescued in the Mediterranean Sea “to disembark safely and quickly”.
The appeal came shortly after Italian officials denied to let the vessel – Aquarius – a German charity vessel with 629 migrants on board to dock, arguing that the migrants should have disembarked in Malta.
Malta, situated 27 nautical miles from where the migrants were rescued, had earlier rejected letting the vessel dock, arguing that the migrants were picked up on Libyan waters, meaning they were under Italy’s jurisdiction. Italy is35 nautical miles from where they were rescued.
The migrants were picked up in six different rescue operations off the Libyan coast, according to UN officials cited by Reuters.
Those rescued include 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 young children and seven pregnant women.
Aged between 13 and 17, the minors come from Eritrea, Ghana, Nigeria and Sudan.
Officials on Aquarius said at least 50 of the migrants they had found stranded the night before were at risk of drowning.
The migrants were picked up in six different rescue operations off Libya’s coast.