The German sea rescue organization Sea-Eye feels pressured by the Maltese government. Gorden Isler, NGO spokesman, told SPIEGEL after Malta had evacuated the five remaining migrants on the ship.
"Malta blackmailed us," Isler said. "If we had not withdrawn our legal protest, the migrants would not have been evacuated, and the Maltese government would move further away from established rule of law." With the protest Sea-Eye wanted to clarify whether Malta is responsible for the "Alan Kurdi" and the migrants on board. Isler's suspicion: "If the court had proved us right, it would have become clear that Malta had wrongly refused aid."
Ten days waiting on the sea
The "Alan Kurdi" had spent ten days aboard the coast of Malta with only five rescued migrants, eight migrants had previously been evacuated for medical reasons. The crew reported two suicide attempts.
Darrin Zammit Lupi / REUTERS
One of the Tunisian migrants on deck of "Alan Kurdi"
According to Sea Eye data, Malta had declared that it had no jurisdiction even though the "Alan Kurdi" had picked up the migrants from a wooden boat within the Maltese search and rescue zone.
On Tuesday evening, the Maltese government finally abducted the migrants with ships from the army. She had offered an evacuation, "after Sea-Eye had withdrawn the legal protest against the Maltese government," it said in a press release. Two EU countries had agreed to accept migrants; the migrants would not stay in Malta.
Sea-Eye lodged the protest with a Maltese court. The goal of the NGO: The court should formally determine the jurisdiction of Malta. The protest then withdrew Sea-Eye.
EU states want to advise on Malta
For months, private rescue ships in the Mediterranean often have no safe haven for days or weeks. Italy and Malta usually refuse until other EU states, under the auspices of the EU Commission, promise to accept the rescued migrants.
After the evacuation of the "Alan Kurdi" is currently still the rescue ship "Ocean Viking" with 84 boat people on the sea. On September 23, representatives of Germany, France, Italy, Finland and the EU Commission want to meet in Malta to discuss the rules for private maritime rescuers.
According to the International Organization for Migration, by 2019 641 people have already died in the Mediterranean. This is less than in previous years, but the route has become even deadlier.
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