Migrant boat with 400 people aboard is adrift in Mediterranean, taking on water

The ship’s crew has already abandoned the boat

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Mandiner
A fishing boat with some 500 migrants enters the southern Italian port of Crotone, early Saturday, March 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Valeria Ferraro)

On Sunday, a distress alert was issued that a ship from North Africa with 400 migrants on board was drifting out of control between Malta and Greece. It is reported the ship must have sprung a leak, as there are reports the ship is taking on water. The barge set sail from Tobruk in Libya and is currently in Maltese waters, according to EurActiv.

The German NGO SeaWatch has located the stranded barge with the help of two merchant ships. The Maltese authorities have instructed the two civilian vessels to only provide fuel to the vessel and not to carry out any rescue operations or take people on board.

NGOs have reported that many of the migrants on board the barge are panicking, as the ship’s fuel has completely run out, the lower deck is full of water, the captain has abandoned the boat, and there is no one to steer the vessel.

As European border agency Frontex recently reported, in the first two months of 2023, the number of irregular border crossings reported by national authorities increased to 28,130, roughly in line with the same period last year. The Central Mediterranean and Western Balkan routes remain the most active.

In February, nearly 13,800 irregular border crossings were detected at the EU’s external borders, slightly more than a year ago.

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