Reportage über die 49 Boat People, die auf der Sea Watch 3 vor Malta aufgehalten werden und über ihre Angst, sich bei rauher See in geschlossenen Räumen aufhalten zu müssen.
After the Sea-Watch rescued the dinghy’s passengers on Dec. 22, roughly 30 nautical miles north of the Libyan coast, the Italian Coast Guard told its crew to ask the Libyan Coast Guard for further instructions.
The Libyan Coast Guard refused help. So did every other country in the region, as a kind of beggar-thy-neighbor policy took hold, with each country shunting asylum seekers onto the next.
An official at the United Nations, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that Malta had refused to let the two boats land until other European countries promised to take in not only some of the 49 migrants onboard, but roughly 250 other migrants who have landed on the archipelago in recent months.
The Maltese government did not respond to requests for comment, while the Italian Interior Ministry said in a statement that Italy was not interested in helping receive the migrants…
For many passengers, the experience of being trapped below decks was a traumatic reminder of the conditions they had escaped in Libya, said Kim Heaton-Heather, the ship’s head of mission.
“It’s triggering,” said Mr. Heaton-Heather. “Every time someone locks a door on them and they’re confined to a small space with other people, you can feel the mood change.”
The two boats were allowed to enter Maltese waters on Jan. 2, and the passengers on the Sea-Watch were let on deck again. But they remain in limbo, so close to the shores of Europe, but so far from being allowed to claim asylum there.