Credit: Jonathan Schörnig
Captain Claus-Peter Reisch who is currently the captain for MV Eleonore the new 20m sailing boat operated by the German civil search and rescue NGO Mission Lifeline likened the situation on board to a public bus during the rush hour.
The 101 asylum seekers on board have entered in their seventh day on board after both Malta and Italy refused to grant the vessel a safe harbor. The vessel remains stranded outside Maltese territorial waters.
The Maltese Rescue Coordination centre (RCC) had already turned down a request to disembark, replying that the country had “no legal obligation” to provide a port, and did not have the “physical capacity nor the capability” to disembark the migrants on board, even temporarily.
Captain Reisch added that there are 110 people on board a 46 squared meter boat which would mean that each person has half a squared meter for themselves.
“This is inhuman” Reisch stated, saying that the situation has to be interrupted as soon as possible.
A spokesperson for the German Federal Ministry of the Interior in comments to Newsbook.com.mt said that Germany is ready to take a significant number of the asylum seekers on board. In letters the NGO sent to Maltese and European authorities it highlighted that the vessel used by the NGO is not designed for prolonged standoffs, as it urged the authorities to find a solution in order to disembark those on board as swiftly as possible.
A spokesperson for the European Commission said that the contacts among Member States are still on going.