The Latest: French NGO returns to migrant sea rescues
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) — The Latest on migration issues in Europe (all times local):
The French non-governmental organization SOS Mediterranee, partnered with Doctors Without Borders, has returned to sea with a new boat to save migrants seven months after the flag was pulled from its original ship, Aquarius.
The NGO announced on Sunday that the Norwegian-flagged Ocean Viking is heading to the Mediterranean with a 31-member crew.
A statement said that civil society is forced to take on the job without a “durable, shared and predictable recue mechanism” by European nations.
The NGO said that at least 426 people have died since the start of the year.
The Aquarius ended operations after Panama revoked its flag and Italian prosecutors ordered the vessel seized, accusing Doctors Without Borders of illegally disposing tons of contaminated waste. The organization says it assisted 30,000 migrants since 2016.
Slovenia’s army says 35 troops will join police in patrolling borders in the southwest of the country after increased numbers of migrants have been spotted in the area.
The army said Sunday that the soldiers will bring their equipment to help the police operating in the area of the coastal town of Koper, which is near the Croatian and Italian borders. They will deploy on Monday.
Koper police have reported apprehending 122 migrants on Friday after discovering several small makeshift migrant camps in a forested area. Most migrants came from Afghanistan and at least five minors were among them.
Slovenia’s army has taken part in border patrols alongside police since 2016 after hundreds of thousands of migrants passed through the country of 2 million while seeking to reach Western Europe.