Nearly 1,000 migrants rescued by Danish, Norwegian ships

Norway and Denmark ships pick up 1,000 migrants from small wooden boats while trying to cross Mediterranean

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The Norwegian ship Siem Pilot rescued some of the migrants as part of the the humanitarian mission of Operation Triton aimed at improving EU border security. The ship rescued 671 migrants from two small wooden boats and took in 99 others rescued by a Russian tanker at sea.

The captain of  Siem Pilot, Svein Kvalavaag, said 770 migrants including 140 women and 45 children were rescued in total.

The ships dropped off the rescued migrants at Sicily.

Norway’s National Criminal Investigation Service released a statement saying “All of the migrants have been well taken care of by the crew of the Norwegian ship.”

“There were no dead people among those rescued, and no one seems seriously ill. There are several pregnant women among those saved,” the statement reads.

Commander Tore Barstad said ”The rescue operation went according to plan and I am satisfied that our training works in practice."

"We got all of the migrants safely from the overcrowded boats they were in to smaller vessels used to transport them to Siem Pilot. They are being cared for by police and military personnel on board,” Barstad added.

A vessel from the Danish Torm shipping company also worked together with the Norwegian ship in Mediterranean following Italian coastguard reports of struggling boats near the Libyan coast.

The Danish vessel rescued 222 migrants and brought them to  the port of Calabria in southern Italy.

Torm spokesman Jesper Jensen said that “The dinghies were crammed with people and there wasn’t much space so it was a good thing that they were picked up by us, where they received food and water.”

“I am pleased that our capable crew acted according to procedures and saved so many lives, reflecting outstanding commitment to international maritime laws and humanitarian efforts,” Jensen added.

Denmark’s broadcast station DR reported that Danish ships participated in 11 rescue missions in 2014 as well as 10 missions so far this year, and have picked up more than 5,000 refugees from the Mediterranean so far.

Danish and Norwegian vessels picked up 1,000 migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean sea from Libyan coast in the last 24 hours.

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported on June 9 that almost 103,000 people have taken deadly boat trips across the Mediterranean Sea in order to reach Europe, where the issue of migrants and refugees has raised domestic and international concern.

Over 1,800 people have died trying to take on the perilous voyage with still hundreds of bodies not recovered following the most horrific accident when a boat with multiple floors capsized on April 19, claiming the lives of an estimate of 800 people.

TRTWorld and agencies