Friday, 17. August 2018

The Aquarius is resuming her mission because rescuing people is the duty, responsibility and purpose of all ships and crews in the Central Mediterranean. However, today, the ships dedicated to search and rescue of boats in distress are fewer than ever.

The Aquarius is sailing back into international waters off the coast of Libya because this is her right. The aid she can, and always has, provided is efficient, professional and humane. 

SOS MEDITERRANEE emphasizes that it is the EU’s failure to reduce the number of deaths in the Mediterranean that forced humanitarian organizations to step up and take on search and rescue activities, to prevent further loss of life.

We therefore welcome the announcement that the next European Council on the 28th and 29th of June would discuss this matter. We also welcome the fact that a preparatory informal meeting has been called by the President of the European Commission, due to take place this Sunday 24th of June in Brussels.

The distance between the current position of the Aquarius and the port of Valencia in Spain is 760 nautical miles, more than 1.500 kilometers. At a cruising speed of about 10 knots – which may vary depending on weather conditions – it will take the Aquarius more than three days of navigation before it reaches the port of Valencia for the disembarkation of the 629 survivors currently on board.

The Aquarius is awaiting final instructions on the safe harbor (“port of safety”) for the 629 survivors welcomed on board between Saturday to Sunday.

In the night of Saturday to Sunday, the Aquarius, the humanitarian ship chartered by SOS MEDITERRANEE and operated in partnership with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), carried out six rescue and transfer operations in the span of just nine hours – all under instruction from the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination (IMRCC). Conducted in extremely difficult conditions, and in excellent collaboration with the other actors present, 629 lives were saved. A few hours after the Aquarius had received instructions from the competent maritime authorities to proceed to a safe harbor (“port of safety”), the press reported on a statement by the Italian authorities announcing the “closure” of Italian ports. The Aquarius is now halted between Malta and Italy, pending instructions from the competent maritime authorities.

The dinghy was discovered on Thursday morning by SOS MEDITERRANEE’s rescue team 25 nautical miles north of Al Khoms, east of Tripoli. The Aquarius immediately informed the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (IMRCC) about the boat in distress, and the Aquarius was then instructed to proceed to rescue.

158 people – including 26 women, 9 children, and a total of 36 unaccompanied minors – were rescued and placed under the care of the MSF medical staff aboard the Aquarius. Although most of them show signs of exhaustion, dehydration and sunburns – all direct consequences of their dangerous journey at sea – no major medical cases have been reported.

69 people transferred from an Italian navy ship

On Thursday morning, the position of a rubber boat off Abu Khamash, Libya, was communicated to all vessels nearby. The Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (IMRCC) requested the Aquarius to proceed to the target. The IMRCC then sent a fax to the Libyan Coast Guard, inquiring about the latter’s intentions and stating that the Aquarius was en route. As this fax remained unanswered by the Libyan Coast Guard, Moonbird, a reconnaissance aircraft operated by the NGO Sea-Watch, discovered the target and informed the nearest vessel, the Italian navy ship San Giusto, which then conducted the rescue. Following IMRCC instructions, the Aquarius approached the navy ship, and commenced the transfer of 69 rescued persons from San Giusto’s landing barge onto the Aquarius at 14 nautical miles from the Libyan coast. The transfer was successfully completed in the early afternoon at 13 nautical miles from the shores of Libya with the RHIBs (rigid-hulled inflatable boats) of SOS MEDITERRANEE.

The European Communist Initiative released a statement to commemorate the 200th birthday of Karl Marx.

The European Communist Initiative which is formed by the communist and workers’ parties from Europe including the Communist Party of Turkey has released a statement to commemorate the 200th birthday of Marx. Referring to the 11th thesis in the introduction, the statement reminded of the decisive contributions of Marxist worldview as well to the economic, political and philosophical thought of humanity.

WFTUThe World Federation of Trade Unions, representing 92 million workers in the 5 continents, wishes to express, once again, its solidarity to the refugees who seek to avoid the horrors of war, trying to go to areas without war and mainly in Europe.

According to the UNHCR 2016 Global Trends Report, worldwide 22.5 million people were refugees and 2.8 million were asylum-seekers during the last year. At the same time, the IDMC 2016 Global Overview Report, announced that over 40.3 million people were internally displaced as a result of conflict.

AKELWe reproduce a stament of AKEL (Progressive Party of the Working People) of Cyprus about the anniversary of the European Union:

On the 25th March 60 years will have passed since the signing of the Treaties of Rome, which laid the foundation of today’s European Union. The leaders of the EU’s 27 member-states are organizing a festive Summit Meeting in Rome to celebrate the achievements of the construction of the EU. However, this time the celebrations cannot hide its existential dead-ends which the EU is facing. Brexit, the growing social dissatisfaction with the EU, unbridgeable contradictions in the internal situation of the Union and the rise of nationalism and xenophobia are a sign of the times which reveal that the cohesion and future of the EU cannot now be taken for granted anymore.

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