Image by Reuters
A distressed vessel carrying migrants may have capsized in Mediterranean waters and many are feared dead, a migrant watchdog group said today.
“What we feared the most and what we warned against for days seems to have happened,” they warned.
Last night, the emergency hotline for distressed refugees at sea AlarmPhone reported four vessels carrying around 250 people were in distress in Mediterranean waters.
The hotline said it has lost contact with two of these boats, including one in Malta’s search and rescue zone, and has no idea whether the people on board are still alive.
It is not yet clear whether the capsized boat was one of the vessels which lost contact during the night.
AlarmPhone accused the EU of monitoring the situation without intervening to save lives.
“All EU authorities that watched without rescuing are responsible.”
This afternoon, the hotline received another call of distress: “We are so tired, the situation is like hell. The boat lost so much air, water is coming inside. We are dying. No water, no food. Some people lost consciousness. Come save us please. We are close to death.”
At 14h CEST, the people in distress told us: “We are so tired, the situation is like hell. The boat lost so much air, water is coming inside. We are dying. No water, no food. Some people lost consciousness. Come save us please. We are close to death.” pic.twitter.com/NH7FZsRWbd
— Alarm Phone (@alarm_phone) April 12, 2020
Malta formally banned entry into its ports on 9th April to prevent further arrivals of migrants. Prime Minister Robert Abela stating this was necessary to ensure all the country’s resources are focused on tackling the COVID-19 pandemic on the island.
That same evening, the AFM rescued least 66 migrants but the Maltese government warned this would be the last time during in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Italy had closed its ports a day earlier, meaning the risks of death for migrants currently out at sea are beyond serious.