Another migrant boat disaster off Tunisia, MSF back at sea

Italian undersecretary claims move encourages illegal migration

14 May, 12:47

    PALERMO - The latest wave of migrant boats headed for Italian coasts and more deaths and shipwrecks has pushed Doctors Without Borders (MSF) to return to the central Mediterranean to carry out search and rescue operations.

    The decision was made Thursday after the latest disaster at sea: as Alarm Phone reported another dinghy in distress with 100 migrants onboard off the coast of Libya, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said that yet another boat had sunk off the coast of Tunisia with 19 people onboard. Seventeen are still missing and only two women were able to be rescued.

    MSF chartered the Geo Barents ship, which left on Friday from Norway and which within two weeks will be operating off the coast of Libya to rescue migrants.

    The announcement was made Friday by the directors of the Italian branch of the international humanitarian organization: chairman and infectious diseases specialist Claudia Lodesani and the head of humanitarian affairs Marco Bertotto.

    Italian interior ministry undersecretary Nicola Molteni said that he was "concerned" about the news, since the return to the sea of NGOs conducting rescue operations "is a decisive factor for attracting more illegal immigration".

    "The departure of boats and dinghies," he said, should be stopped and not encouraged." In the eyes of League party leader Matteo Salvini, the Malta Accord is no longer valid.

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