[WATCH] Updated | Sea-Eye ship ‘Alan Kurdi’: situation ‘alarming’ for 64 refused safe port

Armed Forces of Malta evacuate female passenger in need of urgent medical assistance as migrants rescued at sea by the ‘Alan Kurdi’ vessel face a shortage of food and drinking water

On Tuesday, the Maltese government was told that food, drinking water and changing clothes would be needed by Wednesday at the latest
On Tuesday, the Maltese government was told that food, drinking water and changing clothes would be needed by Wednesday at the latest
Food and water running out aboard Sea-Eye ship refused safe port

Updated at 1:30pm with government statement

A rescue ship with 64 people, of whom 12 are women and two are a child and a baby, is being denied a safe port and is now facing a shortage of food and water. 

The European Commission is negotiating with member states for the allocation of rescued men and women from near the Libyan search and rescue zone by the Sea-Eye ship ‘Alan Kurdi’, six days ago. 

In a statement, the Maltese govenrment said that the Armed Forces of Malta had safely evacuated a female who required urgent medical attention. It said the evacuation had been conducted by the AFM's Melita 1 Search and Rescue Vessel.

On its part, the NGO Sea-Eye, which operates the vessel, said the woman had complained of dizziness, circulatory depression and increasing disturbances of consciousness, adding that an accurate diagnosis was not possible on board.

The NGO said the Maltese authorities had reacted promptly and professionally and had initiated the evacuation of the young woman. "Furthermore, Malta allowed a transport for food and water scheduled for Wednesday," the NGO said.

Earlier in the day, Sea-Eye said the ship was “harshly” refused a safe port in Italy when it sailed near Lampedusa, when the Italian government only accepted to take the children and their mothers, a move that would have separated the two families. 

Germany, the flag state of the ship, has now called Brussels to intervene. 

Operations manager Jan Ribbeck said the rescued people have been sleeping on deck for the most part, suffering freezing weather and wet clothes. “Due to the bad weather, the people had to be brought below deck. 81 people have been living in a room designed for 20 people since Sunday evening,” Ribbeck, a doctor, said. 

“It leaves me speechless that Europe is not in a position to spare 81 people such an ordeal. 81 people have to go to the toilet, they have to wash themselves, the water is needed for cooking and the ship’s engine consumes water as well,” Ribbeck said. 

On Tuesday, the Maltese government was told that food, drinking water and changing clothes would be needed by Wednesday at the latest. “Some of the people here have been wearing their clothes for weeks. These are unspeakable circumstances on board a European ship,” Ribbeck said. 

“The ongoing negotiations and the political question about the distribution of the rescued, through various EU member states, overshadow the human rights of the individuals on board the Alan Kurdi,” Sea-Eye spokesman Dominik Reisinger said. 

“The capture of people on board of the German ship could indeed have legal consequences. A team of international lawyers is already dealing with the case of the ‘Alan Kurdi’. After all, the UN human rights conventions regulate, among other things, the right to freedom, security and physical integrity. These laws also regulate a state’s obligations to protect families. 

“One must actually assume that extensive violations of these human rights and state protection obligations have already occurred, simply because several states have already refused to provide us with a safe port immediately,” Reisinger said. 

Crew were told that women rescued by the ‘Alan Kurdi’ had suffered sexual violence and human trafficking, while men spoke of blackmail, torture and even murder of migrants who were unable to pay traffickers. “After all the suffering on the way to Europe, the very continent on which its politicians love to swagger about European values has only one clear message for our rescued: ‘We don’t want you here either!’... Today, we see exactly how our generation would have behaved instead of our grandparents and great-grandparents, only that today everyone really sees and knows it,” Sea-Eye chairman Gorden Isler said. 

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