The Aquarius is a special-purpose ship chartered by SOS Méditerranée, a European maritime and humanitarian organisation, and Médecins Sans Frontières to rescue migrants and refugees in trouble at sea.
Photographer Nicoló Lanfranchi was onboard tracking its progress and as it docked in the port of Valletta. This is his second dispatch.
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ENTRAL MEDITERRANEAN - Responding to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Central Mediterranean, a total of 141 people were rescued on Friday by the search and rescue vessel Aquarius, chartered by SOS MEDITERRANEE and operated in partnership with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Both organisations are now calling upon European governments to assign the closest place of safety without delay in accordance with International Maritime Law so that people rescued at sea can be disembarked and Aquarius can continue providing urgently needed humanitarian assistance.
Aquarius has received formal permission from the Maltese authorities to enter the port of Valletta. MSF is relieved that a place of safety has been found for the 141 vulnerable people rescued on the Mediterranean. They are survivors of two search and rescue events which were coordinated by Libyan Joint Rescue Coordination Centre. We welcome the news that France, Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain have also agreed to share responsibility in a coordinated European response.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency applauds yesterday’s decision by the Government of Malta to permit the disembarkation of 141 asylum-seekers and migrants rescued on the Central Mediterranean by an NGO boat, the Aquarius. We also commend those European countries who have come forward to offer relocation places for rescued passengers post-disembarkation. This demonstrates the benefits that can be reaped from a collaborative approach.
Updated AIDA Country Report on Malta
On 14 February ECRE released the updated AIDA country report for Malta, presenting an in-depth analysis of asylum procedures, reception conditions, detention and rights of recognised beneficiaries in the country. Malta received 1,619 asylum seekers in 2017, among whom a modest number of boat arrivals. Most asylum seekers were from Syria, Libya and Somalia.
"It's all too confused right now, and this confusion is not good for those people who pay the price with their lives"
By Steve Scherer
ROME, Sept 4 (Reuters) - A Malta-based humanitarian group that has been rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean for three years said on Monday it was suspending operations after months of rising tensions with Italian and Libyan authorities.
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"The idea is that with more people getting interested you can cover bigger areas of the sea"
By Magdalena Mis
LONDON, June 14 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A smartphone application that allows users to scan the Mediterranean for boats in distress is being tested by a migrant rescue service, which hopes that crowdsourced information will help it save more people.
Read the full article on the Thomson Reuters Foundation
On 25 May 2016, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr George W. Vella, and Dr Michael Spindelegger, Director-General of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), inaugurated the organisation’s Coordination and Cooperation Centre for Migration in the Mediterranean in Floriana.
European Economic and Social Committee
Mission Report – Malta, 18-19 January 2016
The Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants conducted a visit to Malta from 6 to 10 December 2014. He held consultations with officials of the Government of Malta, migrants and representatives of civil society organizations and international organizations.
VALETTA (10 December 2014) – Malta needs to step up its preparation for the foreseeable number of migrants and asylum seekers crossing the Mediterranean Sea and arriving at its external borders, United Nations human rights expert François Crépeau has warned today. He urged European countries to support Malta’s efforts and “shoulder their share of responsibilities”
GENEVA (3 December 2014) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, will visit Malta from 6 to 10 December 2014 as follow-up to his 2012 year-long study on the management of the external borders of the European Union.
“Given Malta’s proximity to North Africa, Malta is a key entry point for those wishing to reach Europe,” Mr. Crépeau said. “Understanding how this maritime border is managed, and their impact on the human rights of migrants, will be an essential part of the visit to Malta.’’
IOM, UNHCR Launch Report on Reception of Unaccompanied Minors and Refugee Children in Malta
Malta - A joint IOM-UNHCR report: “Unaccompanied Migrant and Refugee Children: Alternatives to Detention in Malta” was launched yesterday at the San Anton Palace in Attard, Malta.
GENEVA (9 October 2014) – Malta has made progress in preventing the torture and ill-treatment of people deprived of their liberty by setting up two national monitoring bodies in line with its treaty obligations, but more needs to be done, UN rights experts have said at the end of their first official visit to the country.
Switzerland - Investigations are proceeding in three countries following the loss of up to 500 migrants who sailed to Europe from the port of Damietta, Egypt, earlier this month.
The International Organization for Migration is assisting Italy, Greece and Malta in separate investigations into a September incident that eyewitnesses say amounted to the deliberate scuttling of a vessel carrying at least 300 migrants from Egypt, Syria, Sudan and Palestine. Nearly two weeks later only 11 survivors have been reported.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres and Special Envoy Angelina Jolie visited the naval rescue headquarters in Malta yesterday, on a weekend in which new boat sinkings were being reported off Egypt and Libya claiming more innocent lives. Ms. Jolie and Mr. Guterres met three survivors of one of the tragedies, who had been rescued by a commercial vessel and brought to Malta by the Maltese authorities.
Malta - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Mission in Malta, in cooperation with the Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security (MHAS), successfully completed the fourth phase of the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) project - RESTART IV.