German charity ship rescues 64 migrants off Libya

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A German charity rescue ship has picked up 64 migrants, including women and children, stranded off Libya while trying to cross the Mediterranean for Europe.

The Watch the Med association said it received a call for help from the stricken inflatable at around 0830 GMT on Wednesday.

“The authorities were unreachable,” Watch the Med said of the Libyan coastguard charged with search and rescue operations in the zone off Zouara.

Charities frequently accuse the Libyan authorities of failing to rescue migrants, while rights groups say migrants face abuses in Libya.

Instead, German charity Sea-Watch’s Alan Kurdi rescue vessel went to rescue the migrants.

“They’re all safe and sound on board our vessel,” Sea-Eye said.

“The Libyan coastguard is not answering or rescuing.”

Italy refuses port

Italy’s interior minister said that he won’t offer safe harbor to the 64 migrants rescued off Libya by the German group Sea-Watch.

Sea-Watch tweeted that the people brought to safety from a rubber dinghy included 10 women, five children and a newborn baby.

The group said it carried out the rescue off the coast of Zuwarah west of the capital Tripoli after Libyan authorities could not be reached. Sea-Watch is asking Italy or Malta to open a port to the rescue ship, the Alan Kurdi.

Italy’s hard-line interior minister, Matteo Salvini, said this ship, like others before it, won’t be welcome in Italy.