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(1 August 2018) MARSEILLE/AMSTERDAM - The rescue boat Aquarius, run in partnership between SOS MEDITERRANEE and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), sets sail today from Marseille after an extended port call. Aquarius is heading back to the Central Mediterranean in order to render assistance to persons in distress at sea.
said Aloys Vimard, MSF’s Project Coordinator on board the Aquarius. “There are hardly any rescue ships left in the Central Mediterranean and no dedicated search and rescue capacity from European states. Humanitarian assistance at sea is desperately needed now more than ever. Rescuing people in distress at sea remains a legal and moral obligation. Over 700 people have drowned in past few weeks. This contempt for human life is horrifying.”
In over two years of uninterrupted search and rescue operations in Central Mediterranean, this was the first time that Aquarius was in port for more than one month. The extended stay was the result of significant contextual changes that have taken place in Central Mediterranean that have severely affected rescue operations. Political disputes over ports of disembarkation have left ships that have rescued people at sea stranded for weeks at a time. Humanitarian organisations saving lives at sea have been criminalised and blocked from ports in Italy and Malta.
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