It should be a no-brainer. Two ships in the Mediterranean Sea ordered to pick up Libyan “migrants” who were in what amounted to dinghies are now stuck with their unexpected passengers. At least for now. The two nations closest to them – Malta and Italy – have both refused the ships port entry.
The rescue vessel, the MV Lifeline, run by the German charity Mission Lifeline, has been unable to offload 234 people sheltering onboard since they were rescued from two rubber dinghies in the Mediterranean on Thursday.
A cargo vessel, the Alexander Maersk, was also waiting on Sunday for clearance to dock in an Italian port with 110 rescued migrants onboard. While on a merchant mission on Thursday, the ship came to the assistance of a boat in distress 5 miles off the coast of Pozzallo, Italy.
“They have the right to live,” Axel Steier, a Mission Lifeline founder, said of the migrants. “And they have a right to seek asylum, and that isn’t being guaranteed at the moment. It’s kind of like you are jailed on the ocean.”
While these people do have the right to live and the right to asylum if they really need it, that does not have to be in Italy or Malta. They just happen to have the closest ports…and they are the two European countries within the European Union to refuse to take any more migrant refugees.
Both countries have been generous with emergency aid and supplies. They simply are not open to invasion from north African migrants.
This week’s floating migrant vessels are not the first to find themselves in this predicament. Another ship was turned away from Italy earlier in June. Spain eventually allowed the migrants entry at the port in Valencia.
The big question is why are these people leaving northern Africa looking for asylum. Perhaps that is the question that needs to be addressed rather than allowing the refugees to flood Europe.