Watch: ‘Sea-Watch close to shore, people still stranded’ – German MP

Frank Schwabe, a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany is part of the delegation currently aboard the Sea-Watch 3, the rescue vessel that saved 32 people from drowning on the 22nd December. He spoke to Newsbook.com.mt describing the strange situation where the vessel is close to shore, but people are still being left to live and suffer on the ship.

He also explained that the ships Sea-Watch 3 belonging to Sea-Watch and Professor Albrecht Penck of Sea-Eye are German despite one of the vessels being registered in Holland. The delegation aboard the ship is made up of German MPs and MEPs.

Schwabe insisted that this is a question of humanity. While one can discuss the issues and politics coming from a number of countries, seeing the coast so close makes one wonder why these people have been left stranded. After 14 days, people are weak and going through psychological problems. He also explained that many of them still don’t know what’s going on, adding that he is feeling sea sick after a few hours due to rough seas, let alone what these people who have been there for days must be feeling.

“Urgent need for a solution”

Schwabe said that, if he understood correctly, the European Commission found enough countries to take the 49 people currently stranded on Sea-Watch 3 and Professor Albrecht Penck. He also urged the Maltese Government to let migrants in to be transferred to other European countries who seem to be ready for them.

The MP said he is also appealing to the German Government to take in people on boats. He continued to explain that the situation needs to be addressed immediately, especially considering the three children between six and seven years old. He said this remains a humanitarian issue and they should be given safe port.

‘Prioritise life; open EU ports’ – Maltese NGOs

Schwabe also told Newsbook.com.mt that this will not be the last time a vessel will save migrants, which is why there needs to be a clear European agreement where Malta are given full guarantee that migrants will be relocated. He said he understands Malta and the surrounding countries’ worries regarding who is meant to take responsibility.

Officials on their way to assess Sea-Watch 3 situation

To which countries will the asylum seekers be relocated to?

During a press conference, European Immigration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos’ spokesperson Mina Andreeva said that a number of countries have shown interest in offering quick solutions for the people stranded on the ships. She said a number of Member States have shown that they are ready to help Malta, but she will not be announcing which countries until they do.