Aid group halts sea rescues in Mediterranean

The international aid group Save the Children is suspending its efforts to rescue migrants making the dangerous Mediterranean Sea crossing from Libya.

Tuesday, the organization said the combination of falling numbers of crossings and worsening security forced it to stop sending its ship, the Vos Hestia, out from its port in Italy.

Save the Children said the ship rescued as many as 10 000 migrants over the past year after the smugglers’ vessels they were in foundered at sea.

The announcement comes just a day after Italian authorities searched the Vos Hestia as part of Rome’s efforts to deter people smuggling across the Mediterranean. Save the Children said the decision to suspend operations wasn’t related to the search and it told journalists that Italian prosecutors had given assurances it is not under investigation. It seems the search might be linked, however, to crew members on the boat.

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(Photo: Save the Children)