- Title: Rescuers fear for boat migrants in winter months
- Date: 24th November 2016
- Summary: CATANIA, ITALY (NOVEMBER 24, 2016) (REUTERS) RESCUE VESSEL "AQUARIUS" OF THE HUMANITARIAN GROUP SOS MEDITERRANEE DOCKING IN PORT WITH RESCUED MIGRANTS ON DECK VARIOUS OF MIGRANTS WALKING DOWN GANG PLANK MIGRANTS WEARING TRACK SUITS AND WITH TOWELS WRAPPED AROUND THEIR HEADS ON DECK LOOKING ON MIGRANTS WALKING DOWN GANG PLANK VARIOUS OF MIGRANTS ON DECK LOOKING ON MIGRANTS DISEMBARKING SHIP WHILE OTHERS LOOK ON FROM DECK MIGRANT WEARING ONE SOCK AND FLIP FLOPS SEATED BY RED CROSS WORKERS IN PORT RED CROSS SHELTERS IN PORT MIGRANT EATING SANDWICH BY RED CROSS WORKER (SOUNDBITE) (English) PROJECT COORDINATOR AT MEDECINS SANS FRONTIERES (MSF), FERRY SCHIPPERS, SAYING: "Most of the people come from Nigeria. We have 146 women from Nigeria and the vast majority is underage. We also have a large group of Pakistani onboard. What we can see is...we have some injuries onboard, people got inflicted (sic) in Libya, we had also one diabetic woman onboard who got the drip to manage the situation. For two nights we were on our way to Catania." MIGRANTS BEING CHECKED BY MEDIC AS THEY DISEMBARK SHIP MIGRANTS ON DECK LOOKING ON VARIOUS OF MIGRANTS WALKING DOWN GANG PLANK SOS MEDITERRANEE FLAG NAVY OFFICERS LOOKING ON AS MIGRANTS DISEMBARK IN PORT (SOUNDBITE) (English) PROJECT COORDINATOR AT MEDECINS SANS FRONTIERES (MSF), FERRY SCHIPPERS, SAYING: "The worry is that more and more NGO ships will stop now, between now and mid-December until February. We will be the only NGO vessel that is going to help the people who take this route over the Mediterranean. That really worries us because we see a tendency that more and more people are still leaving and there are not enough ships. Something needs to be done in a legal way." MIGRANTS DISEMBARKING IN PORT MIGRANT WRAPPED IN THERMAL BLANKET SEATED ON DECK MIGRANTS DISEMBARKING IN PORT MIGRANTS ON DECK ABOVE TEXT READING "AQUARIUS GIBRALTAR" VARIOUS OF MIGRANTS DISEMBARKING SHIP IN PORT
- Embargoed: 9th December 2016 13:56
- Keywords: migrants arrival Italy Sicily Catania MSF Ferry Schippers Nigerian migrants
- Location: CATANIA, ITALY
- City: CATANIA, ITALY
- Country: Italy
- Topics: Asylum/Immigration/Refugees,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00159SZVWN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) on Thursday (November 24) called for urgent action to prevent further migrant boat tragedies in the upcoming winter months when fewer rescue vessels patrol the Mediterranean.
Speaking in the port of Catania as 641 boat migrants disembarked the rescue vessel Aquarius, MSF Project Coordinator Ferry Schippers said more and more people were attempting to make the perilous sea-crossing despite worsening weather and sea conditions.
The migrants aboard the Aquarius were rescued by the Italian coast guard some 25-30 nautical miles off the coast of Libya and transferred onto the SOS Mediterranee humanitarian group's vessel to be taken to land.
Schippers said most of the rescued migrants were Nigerian and included many young girls.
The migrants, many of them dressed in track suits with towels wrapped around their heads, looked on from the deck as they waited for their turn to walk down the gang plank.
In the port temporary shelters were set up for standard health and identification procedures.
More than 168,000 migrants have reached Italy by boat this year, exceeding 154,000 for the whole of 2015 and quickly approaching 2014's 170,000 record.
Schippers said he feared more migrants would drown in the coming months if fewer NGO ships put to sea during the winter, and he called for action.
"The worry is that more and more NGO ships will stop now, between now and mid-December until February. We will be the only NGO vessel that is going to help the people who take this route over the Mediterranean. That really worries us because we see a tendency that more and more people are still leaving and there are not enough ships. Something needs to be done in a legal way," he said.
Italy has borne the brunt of new arrivals since the implementation in March of an agreement between the European Union and Turkey to curb the flow of migrants sailing for Greece.
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