First Baby Ever Born on a German Naval Vessel

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In the ceaseless endeavour to find a new land to live the life of their dreams, thousands of illegal migrants attempt crossing harsh seas every year. It was on one such attempt by a pregnant Somali migrant Rahma, 33, that a baby girl was born at sea. Rahma was rescued at sea and taken onboard a German rescue boat named ‘Schleswig Holstein’. While on the German naval boat, she delivered a 7 pound baby girl named Sophia.

Thousands of people from parts of Asia, Africa, the Middle East risk their lives and travel on unseaworthy vessels bound for Europe.  IMO surveys report nearly 190000 people attempted this type of hazardous journey to cross the Mediterranean in the year 2015.  2400 deaths have been reported so far this year.  Most people are trying this foolhardy journey across the seas either make it to Greece or Italy.  Many never make it and die tragically at sea. Still, the attempts to migrate has not deterred newer migrants.

A survey report has collated the following accidents while migrants attempted to cross over to safer lands.

  1. 900 people perished at sea while their ship capsized while trying to cross the Strait of Sicily.
  2. On 5th August 2015, a fishing boat carrying 700 illegal migrants capsized in the Mediterranean. Only around 500 people could be rescued, with several other hospitalized in critical condition.  In spite of the joint efforts by both the Irish Navy and Italian Military so many were killed.  It later came to light that 5 North African human traffickers, manning the vessel, had ill-treated, beat and threatened the passengers with knives and clubs.  Authorities apprehended the traffickers.
  3. On 26th August, a boat found north of Libya, revealed yet another horrendous trafficking operation. The traffickers had herded about 500 migrants in the confining space of the small boat. 51 corpses were unearthed. They had reportedly died of asphyxiation.

Illegal migrant casualty was recorded at 3150 in the year 2014 while surveys predict that the number of deaths at sea could exceed 4000 in 2015.  The reason could be the number of rescue attempts has decreased while the number of migrants has gone up.

The Italian government initiated a rescue mission with a $12 million budget per month. It is named as “Operation Mare Nostrum”.  In a span of one year from October 2013-2014, they managed to rescue 130000 lives.  They rescued migrants were offered food, shelter and aid to apply for asylum.  However, with no funding support from the EU, the Italian government was unable to sustain the program.  Later, with repeated appeals, the EU replaced Mare Nostrum with Triton.  This program operates with a smaller budget of $3 million, and their aim is to deter illegal migration rather than rescue.  

It is likely that the EU, to address this crisis, plans to provide aid to nations struggling with the illegal migrants issue with a grant of $33.4 million.  Greek officials, in consultation with EU, propose to devise a plan on the best methods to integrate migrants into their population.

Credit: Marko Eisenhauer

Source: YouTube

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