Tista' taqra bil- Malti.
Video: Facebook/Daniele Biella
American actor Richard Gere has joined Spanish-flagged rescue vessel Open Arms at sea. 121 rescued asylum seekers remain stranded for more than seven days at sea, after both Italy and Malta refused to grant them a port of safety.
Proactiva Open Arms shared photos of food supplies arriving to the vessel along with a picture of Gere handing out food, on its Twitter account. Gere has visited the ship with the aim of bringing food supplies to the crew and rescuees.
Gere arrived to the charity vessel on board a yacht which displayed a banner with “You are not alone”, as the vessel remained locked in the Central Mediterranean asking for a port of safety. Proactiva Open Arm’s president Oscar Camps is also on the rescue vessel.
The actor who was joined with TV presenter and former semi-professional rugby player Gabriele Rubini known as Chef Rubio, will be holding a press conference on Saturday asking for a port of safety where the migrants could disembark.
— Open Arms (@openarms_fund) August 9, 2019
The crew on board the vessel operated by the Spanish civil search and rescue NGO Proactiva Open Arms, rescued 53 adults and two babies from a small boat last Thursday. Later on in the night they rescued another 69 people. On Saturday, two heavily pregnant women were evacuated from onboard the vessel.
Italian news agency ANSA reported that the actor was in Lampedusa to show his support to the Spanish NGO and the 124 migrants it rescued on August 1 in the Strait of Sicily.
Open Arms has been at sea for the past eight days, waiting for the authorization to disembark the migrants.
The Commission has reached out to member states
European Parliament president David Sassoli wrote to the European Commission on Thursday urging immediate action and to treat the case as an emergency. The European Commission has in the past coordinated such stand-offs between member states.
During the Friday mid-day briefing Annika Breidthardt, a spokesperson for the European Commission, said that in the coming days the Commission will reply to the letter. Breidthardt reiterated that the Commission has repeatedly called on the member states to ensure that the humanitarian imperative comes first and that solutions are found for persons rescued at sea.
‘No request for mediation’
The Commission spokesperson further added that their efforts have continued “unabated”. Upon being asked whether a mediation request was received in order to reach another ad hoc agreement, Breidthardt said that the Commission received no request for mediation from EU member states, explaining that the Commission has independently reached out to member states asking them to show solidarity and contribute to finding a solution for the people on board.
Breidthardt reminded that the European Commission has no competence when it comes to coordinate search and rescue activities or indication of disembarkation.
“The Commission has done its utmost in our remit to find a solution and we will continue to do so,” Breidthardt said, while reminding that finding a solution requires member states to take part in solidarity efforts.
The Commission reiterated that predictable and sustainable solutions are needed in the Mediterranean, adding that it is ready to support such temporary arrangements both financially and operationally.