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News > Italy

Italy: The Airplane of Sea-Watch Is Nailed To the Ground

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    The "Moonbird" during a monitoring operation, Mediterranean Sea, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @SeaWatchItaly

Published 8 September 2020

The humanitarian NGO accuses the European authorities of trying to hide what happens to migrants in the Mediterranean.

The NGO Sea-Watch denounced that Italy has blocked its reconnaissance plane "Moonbird" on the Lampedusa island to prevent it from warning about the barges with migrants in danger.


Malta: 27 Migrants Aboard Tanker Go Through Humanitarian Crisis

"Since Friday, our airplane Moonbird is grounded with a prohibition to depart and monitor what is happening in the Central Mediterranean between Lampedusa and Libya. The Italian government and the European Union want to make sure that no one knows the truth about what happens in the Central Mediterranean," Sea-Watch spokeswoman Giorgia Linardi said.

She explained that the reason for grounding the reconnaissance plane is her NGO spent many hours at sea reporting people in need to be rescued immediately and reporting the omissions of rescues and the unacceptable delays in providing support to these people.

"This is not accepted by the government. This is the only reason why our airplane cannot fly anymore and we cannot report to the whole world, what is happening in the Central Mediterranean. So that governments can continue committing their crimes," Linardi added.

"People remain abandoned for hours or days with the complicity of the European authorities who watch them from the air. They are either illegally returned to Libya or abandoned until they disappear or reach the coast of Lampedusa by themselves," she stressed, as reported by the local outlet Open.

Since June, the German NGO Sea-Watch has carried out 47 rescue missions and detected some 2,600 people in danger, for whom it requested immediate help.

In the Mediterranean, the humanitarian crisis continues day after day. Off the coast of Malta, for example, the oil tanker "Etienne" has been with 27 migrants on board for over a month, waiting for a European country to allow their landing.

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