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Aid groups seek safe ports for nearly 500 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean

Aid groups seek safe ports for nearly 500 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean

Nearly 500 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean by two boats run by aid agencies were looking for safe ports in Malta and Italy, the groups said on Monday. The ‘Ocean Viking’ vessel run by SOS Mediterranee in partnership with Doctors Without Borders (MSF) was carrying 407 people rescued in a total of five operations carried out over 72 hours.

Another 78 people were taken on board the ‘Alan Kurdi’, run by the Sea-Eye organization based in Germany. They were rescued in two operations.

Sea-Eye tweeted on Sunday that the ‘Alan Kurdi’ was headed for Italy, after Malta refused them a safe port. Ocean Viking has rescued 184 men, women and children on two inflatable rafts, off the Libyan coast.

Despite the winter, bad weather, and very few vessels dedicated to the rescue in the area, “boats are still leaving Libya in numbers,” Aloys Vimard, MSF’s coordinator on board the Ocean Viking, told AFP. “The survivors tell us about the deteriorating security situation in Libya where there is active conflict.” MSF had refused an offer to land them at Libya as “it is not a safe place.”