Sea-Watch resumes rescue operations off Libyan coast | ZEIT ONLINE

The German organization Sea-Watch resumes aid operations for refugees off the coast of Libya with a new ship. The Mare Jonio was flying the Italian flag to the Libyan coast, wrote the organization on Twitter. Unlike earlier missions, however, activists do not want to rescue migrants themselves and bring them to the mainland.
            Instead, the crew of Mare Jonio seeks to locate and secure refugee boats in distress. Together with other refugee returnees, they were keeping a close watch on the Libyan coast, they said.
            The Mare Jonio left the port of Augusta in Sicily on Wednesday evening and set sail south, according to data on a site for the determination of ship positions. The new ship of Sea-Watch measures 37 meters, making it about half as large as the last in the Mediterranean active refugee rescue ship Aquarius.
            Writers and politicians on board According to the activists, the aim of the new mission is also to call into question the European strategy of "abandoning people". In addition, the helpers want to push into a section of the Mediterranean, which the Libyan Coast Guard and international military ships last neglected, although several boats had been shipwrecked there in September.
            On board the Mare Jonio are also Italian writers and politicians, said Ada Talarico of the organization Mediterranea, which is involved with Sea-Watch in the operation. The ship is accompanied by a small boat that carries members of both organizations and journalists. The operation is financed by a loan, which should be repaid by donation income.
            Sea-Watch participated in the rescue of approximately 1,500 people from November 2017 to January 2018 with Sea-Watch-3. Since July, this vessel is due to alleged ambiguities in the approval in Malta firmly.
                        A few days ago, the Spanish non-governmental organization Proactiva Open Arms had sent a sailboat off the coast of Libya. The Astral drove on Wednesday before Lampedusa. Off the coast of the Italian island, in October 2013, at least 366 people died in the collapse of a ship carrying refugees. Under the impact of the accident, the Italian government had launched the military maritime rescue Mare Nostrum. This was reinforced by other EU states as well as by volunteer rescue missions.
            However, since the Italian right-wing populist government took office, the conditions for civilian life-saving services in the Mediterranean have changed drastically. The new Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini of the far-right Lega Party closed the ports for the ships of volunteer refugee workers.
            The blockade also affected the Aquarius, who arrived in Marseille, their home port after a long odyssey on Thursday in the southern French city of Marseille. For the time being, the rescue ship is stuck there: Panama had deprived him of the flag after a complaint from Italy.

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