The Latest: Norwegian ship rescues 503 refugees from Med Sea
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS BERLIN — Mar 5, 2017, 11:37 AM ET
The Latest on Europe and immigration (all times local):
A Norwegian ship has rescued 503 people from the Mediterranean Sea in eight operations since Thursday.
The Norwegian Police Service says the Siem Pilot arrived Sunday in the Sicilian port of Catania with 503 migrants on board. A seriously ill 16-year-old boy died being helped on board, police said.
The agency said the migrants — 358 men, 29 women and 116 children, including babies —sailed from Libya last week in rubber dinghies and wooden boats. It said many of them were injured, some with gunshot wounds, burn injuries and head wounds.
It did not explain the reasons for the wounds or injuries.
Police said two people on board suspected of being human traffickers were detained and handed over to Italian authorities for further investigation.
Norwegian rescue vessels Siem Pilot and Peter Henry von Koss have rescued 59,000 refugees and migrants since spring 2015 in the Mediterranean, in cooperation with the European Union’s border and coast guard agency Frontex.
Germany planned to close its border with Austria and turn back asylum-seekers in September 2015, a move that could have dramatically changed the course of the European refugee crisis that was at its peak at the time, according to a German newspaper.
The Welt am Sonntag reported Sunday that Chancellor Angela Merkel and her ministers agreed Sept. 12 to send thousands of police to the border, where they were to turn back migrants who didn’t have documents entitling them to enter Germany — “including in cases of asylum request.”
The plan was halted hours before it was due to take effect on Sept. 13 after officials raised concerns about the border closure during an emergency meeting at Germany’s Interior Ministry, the paper reported.
Citing interviews with several unnamed high-ranking officials, Welt am Sonntag reported that ministers didn’t want to take responsibility for a decision that might have been illegal under German and European law.
The interior ministry said in a statement to The Associated Press that it could “neither confirm nor deny” the report.
The Norwegian ship Siem Pilot came Sunday to the Italian city of Catania with 503 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean. A chronically ill boy died on board.
According to the NCIS had posted migrants from Libya last week in crowded dinghies and boats.
Siem Pilot has been involved in eight rescue missions since Thursday and arrived in the early hours of Catania in Sicily. Of the 503 poeple, 358 men, 29 women and 116 children, including infants.
Many of them could, according NCIS talk about dramatic conditions when they left Libya and many of them had injuries – including bullet-, fire- and head injuries.
A 16-year-old boy with chronic disease died shortly after he came aboard.
– The crew gave him the best treatment, and he died without pain. The boy was traveling alone and this event characterizes course all of us, says Commander Jørgen Berg.
Two people suspected of being traffickers. They were detained and handed over to Italian authorities for further investigation.
Recently announced Police Directorate, to Siem Pilot with lifeboat Peter Henry von Koss since spring 2015 saved 59,000 refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean. The work is done in cooperation with EU border force, Frontex and several other organizations.