Over 200 Migrants Rescued in Med This Week

An Italian charity ship rescued around 100 migrants in the Mediterranean on Wednesday, bringing the total number of migrants saved to over 200 this week.

The Mare Jonio vessel, run by Italian NGO Mediterranea, said on its Twitter page that those rescued included 22 women and 28 children, most of them under the age of 10.

The charity said it was awaiting instructions from the Italian Maritime Coordination Center for it to try to dock.

Italy has taken a hard line on immigration and has in the past turned away charity rescue ships.

The Mare Jonio was investigated by Italy’s interior ministry in May for allegedly aiding illegal immigration but the case was later dropped.

In the latest standoff, anti-immigration Interior Minister Matteo Salvini refused to let a German rescue ship, carrying some 100 migrants, to enter Italian waters on Tuesday.

The Eleonore, run by German charity Mission Lifeline, said it found the migrants on a collapsing dinghy in the Mediterranean on Monday.

But it ran into the Libyan coastguard, which the charity said threatened the crew and wanted to take the migrants back to the war-stricken country.

In June, Malta investigated a Dutch-flagged rescue ship, the Lifeline, run by the same German charity, after it docked more than 230 migrants.

The captain was accused by Italy and Malta of breaking the law by refusing to comply with Libyan authorities and was handed a hefty fine for incorrect registration of the ship.  

Over 34,000 migrants and refugees have made the dangerous journey into Europe by sea this year, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported in July.

But Italy and Malta have both repeatedly refused to allow charity vessels to dock until other European nations agree to take them in.

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