The European Commission on Monday called on member states of the European Union (EU) to help affected costal member states rapidly disembark any migrants rescued in the Mediterranean Sea, to ensure their safety and the safety of the vessels’ crew.
Commission spokesman Adalbert Jahnz appealed to member states to “urgently cooperate in the spirit of solidarity and collective responsibility for the management of migration in Europe.”
He was answering journalists’ questions about the situation in the Mediterranean Sea where more than 400 migrants, including several women and children, are stranded at sea aboard vessels operated by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) while running short of space and supplies.
Rescue ship Louise Michel was reported to be unable to move after being overwhelmed with more than 200 people aboard. The boat had carried out three separate rescues within its first week of operation.
The Sea-Watch 4, a migrant rescue vessel operated by a German NGO that is carrying another 200 migrants, also carried out three sea rescues last week.
“The European Commission is closely following the situation in the central Mediterranean. Coastal member states have essential responsibilities but they should not face them alone, including with regard to hosting of rescued migrants. There are also additional risks due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the spokesman said.
He said that the Commission was in close contact with member states and was trying to find solutions by, among others, facilitating the relocation once the migrants are disembarked.