466 migrants waiting to dock in Europe on Ocean Viking ship, only 21 are women

Another example of how the vast majority of the migrants coming to Europe are fighting-age men, with women making up only a tiny minority

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Denes Albert and John Cody
Migrants are being rescued by volunteers of the Ocean Viking, a migrant search and rescue ship run by NGOs SOS Mediterranee and the International Federation of Red Cross (IFCR), Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Jeremias Gonzalez)

The SOS Méditerranée humanitarian ship Ocean Viking, which has carried out 10 rescue operations since Wednesday, was awaiting this Sunday, August 28, the allocation of “a safe port” to disembark the 466 rescued migrants, Radio France International (RFI) reports.

“At this time, the Ocean Viking awaits the allocation of a safe port of disembarkation for the 466 people on board. Many of them are exhausted by a long and difficult migratory journey, the suffering endured in Libya and the trauma of a dangerous crossing,” the NGO SOS Méditerranée wrote on Sunday in a statement to Agence France-Presse.

On board the ship are only 21 women. Although 81 minors are also recorded, many such “unaccompanied” minors have turned out to in fact be adults, according to European authorities. For example, in Belgium, 69 percent of tested migrant minors were adults. Testing in France found that 78.7 percent of tested “minors” were adults. In Sweden, the numbers were even starker, with 84 percent of “child migrants” tested by Swedish health authorities actually turning out to be adults aged 18 or older, according to a report from the BBC. Migrants have a strong incentive to lie about their age, as underage minors cannot be deported in most cases, have better social benefits, and face less severe consequences for criminal infractions.

“Some stayed up to three days in the open sea under a blazing sun, with a boat that threatened to sink at any moment,” stated Fabienne Lassalle, the deputy director general of SOS Méditerranée, to RFI.

NGOs often use dramatic language to appeal to European authorities to accept migrants at sea. However, once in Europe, a network of NGOs, lawyers, and activists work to ensure the migrants cannot be deported after arriving on European soil, thus creating a vicious loop of migrants seeing strong incentives to make the dangerous journey to Europe.

The 466 migrants, of 19 nationalities, were rescued during 10 rescue operations carried out in less than three days. They are mostly from Bangladesh, Egypt, Tunisia, and Eritrea. It is worth noting that all of these countries are considered “safe” countries, with none of them experiencing war. As the German press has reported, most “boat migrants” are not eligible for asylum, as they come from safe countries.

“Contrary to popular belief, the majority of those arriving in Italy are not refugees. The main countries of origin for boat migrants in January were Algeria, the Ivory Coast, and Bangladesh,” Marcel Leubecher, the political editor of Die welt, wrote in 2020.

Consequently, about 95 percent of asylum applications of migrants from these countries are rejected, he stated. Furthermore, the number of Libyans, whose country is going through a long-standing civil war, is only a negligible part of the migrant wave.

Since the beginning of the year, 1,161 migrants have disappeared in the Mediterranean, including 918 in the central Mediterranean, the most dangerous migratory route in the world, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The UN agency estimated the number of dead and missing in 2021 at 2,048 in the Mediterranean, including 1,553 for the central Mediterranean alone.

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