The last migrant rescue ship operating on the central Mediterranean trafficking route, Aquarius 2, just had it’s registration revoked. This could act as a major set back to humanitarian efforts to pick up migrants off the coast of Africa and provide them with transportation into Europe.
The Panama Maritime Authority (PMA) made the call after alleged complaints from Italian authorities. Aquarius 2 just recently picked up a new group of migrants off the coast of Libya, where it was contacted by the Libyan coast guard and instructed to have the rescued migrants returned to Libya. However, the ship refused to comply, and set sail for Europe.
“The UN’s refugee agency found that Libya cannot be considered a safe harbor,” DW reports. “The country remains largely lawless amid a recent surge of infighting between militia groups.”
Despite Libya being deemed unsafe, the ship’s refusal to cooperate with Libyan coast guard seems to have led to their registration being revoked. “The move effectively ends all charity-run rescue missions off the Libyan coast unless the ship can find a new flag to sail under.”