Doctors Without Borders rescued 230 migrants in the Mediterranean

Doctors Without Borders rescued 230 migrants in the Mediterranean

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The non-governmental organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF) rescued 230 refugees and migrants, including more than 80 minors and an infant, during three operations in the Mediterranean within a few hours.

The NGO's search and rescue ship rescued 69 people on a rubber boat on Tuesday night and another 61 from a second boat on Wednesday morning, it said.

A further 107 people were later rescued by other vessels. The operations took place in international waters, not far from the coast of Libya.

After the initial rescue, the Italian government ordered the MSF ship to move to the town of La Spezia (Liguria, north) to disembark the refugees and migrants.

The Geo Barents however refused to obey the order to sail to Spezia immediately after the first rescue, as it received a call from people in danger, the organization said. He went to save other immigrants.

According to a representative of the organization, the ship has now charted a course to the north to reach Spezia, which is 1.200 kilometers away.

Recently, the Italian government has been allowing NGO ships to dock in cities far from the search and rescue areas where they operate, forcing them to stay at sea for days at a time. Aid workers complain that this is a systematic policy of the government under far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to hinder and discourage them.

Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Piandendozzi, for his part, once again accused non-governmental organizations on Wednesday of encouraging migrants to attempt the dangerous journey.

"The presence of NGOs (…) guarantees that rubber boats sail again," argued the interior minister of the far-right coalition government.

Source: RES-EAP