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  • Open Arms staff rescuing African migrants at the Mediterranean sea, Jan. 28, 2020.

    Open Arms staff rescuing African migrants at the Mediterranean sea, Jan. 28, 2020. | Photo: Twitter / @LosTiemposBo

Published 28 January 2020
Opinion

Currently, 642 people rescued at sea are waiting to be allowed to disembark in European Union territory.

Over the last 24 hours, the Spanish humanitarian organization Open Arms has rescued 158 migrants who were sailing in the central Mediterranean Sea and at risk of a shipwreck on two different boats.

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The Open Arms vessel is currently the only humanitarian ship present in international waters in front of Libya, as the rest of rescue boats are heading to Italy in search of a port.

Rescued migrants come from South Sudan, Gambia, Egypt, Senegal, Chad, Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Central African Republic. Among them are three women and 38 unaccompanied minors.

"The general situation is good onboard. The rescued people had breakfast and have no health problems. So no evacuation will be requested," the Open Arms mission chief Gerard Canals said.

On Tuesday morning, Morocco’s authorities also rescued a ship that was sinking, about six nautical miles from El Aaiun, with 34 people on board.

Initially, the Spanish NGO Walking Borders issued an SOS alert after receiving several broken phone calls made by immigrants.

“In their first communication, one of the occupants warned that they were heading to the Canary Islands and they had run out of motor,” Walking Frontiers spokesperson Helena Maleno said.

According to the Spanish NGO, in their last call, the people were "in absolute panic", "they shouted that they were sinking, that they were going to die."

On Tuesday morning, two planes and a speedboat of Maritime Rescue left in search of the ship and located it near the coast of Western Sahara.​​​​​​​

Currently, 642 people rescued at sea by Spanish and German humanitarian ships are waiting to be allowed to disembark in European Union territory.

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Gerard Canals
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