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At least three migrants die as boat catches fire off Italy

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At least three migrants die as boat catches fire off Italy

…Almost 400 migrants still left at sea, even after ship-to-ship transfer***

At least three migrants, two men, and a woman died when a fire broke out on a boat carrying around 20 of them close to the southern coast of Italy on Sunday, police and health officials said.

Another five migrants were injured and taken to hospitals, health authorities in the Italian port city of Crotone said, adding that two of them were in a serious condition.

Two finance police officers were hurt as they tried to steer the migrant ship to safety, commander Emilio Fiora was reported as saying by AdnKronos news agency.

He said the ship’s engine caught fire and there was an explosion.

Fiora added that searches were going on to make sure that everyone had been rescued.

Also read:  Malta rescues 95 migrants from sinking dinghy

Italy used to be a major route into Europe for hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers and other migrants, but numbers fell sharply after a crackdown in Libya on smugglers.

However, there has been a pick-up in 2020 although Rome has closed its ports to migrant boats, saying it is impossible to help migrants due to the coronavirus crisis.

Some 18,000 migrants have reached Italy’s shores so far in 2020, Interior Ministry official data showed, compared to around 4,900 in the same period in 2019.

In another development, almost 400 migrants remained stranded in the central Mediterranean on Sunday, after a dangerously overcrowded rescue boat was emptied of all its passengers.

The Louise Michel, part of a charity mission sponsored by British street artist Banksy, launched a Mayday call late Friday after picking up more than 200 people.

Over the course of Saturday, 49 were taken in by the Italian coastguard, while the rest were transferred onto another charity vessel, the German-flagged Sea-Watch 4.

“#LouiseMichel no longer has guests onboard, but the struggle of the survivors is not over,” a Twitter account for the rescue ship said on Sunday.

It added: “#Europe! #SOLAS (an international treaty) obliges you to rescue at sea. Open your ports now!”

The Sea-Watch 4 has about 350 migrants aboard, including people from previous rescues.

There are also 27 migrants, who have been on the Maersk Etienne, a Danish tanker, for more than three weeks.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) jointly called on Saturday for the “immediate disembarkation” of all migrants still at sea.

EU countries’ inability to agree who should take them in “is not an excuse to deny vulnerable people a port of safety and the assistance they need, as required under international law,” they said.

Standoffs over migrants rescued in the central Mediterranean have been playing out for years, with Italy and Malta usually reluctant to welcome them.

The two countries have long said they are disproportionately affected by Europe-bound sea migration from North Africa, and that there is insufficient burden-sharing across the European Union.

 

 

 

Reuters with additional reports from dpa

 

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Sri Lankan President Thanks Seychelles Defence Forces For Rescuing Sri Lankan Vessel From Somali Pirates

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President Ramkalawan says Seychellois military boarded boat with utmost courage to take complete control

 The Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF) Special Forces and Seychelles Coast Guards on board Coast Guards vessel Topaz led a successful operation to regain control of a Sri Lankan vessel hijacked by armed Somali pirates.

Seychellois special military forces boarded the boat with utmost courage to take complete control of the vessel and rescue our Sri Lankan brothers.

The Commander in Chief of the Seychelles, President Wavel Ramkalawan has spoken to the Chief of Defence Forces, Brigadier Michael Rosette to congratulate the Special Forces and Coast Guards team on a well-executed and successful mission.

“This is the spirit of the Seychelles Defence Forces. Professionalism, courage, and bravery are the tenets of the new spirit in the force. Though small, we will make our contribution to attaining maritime security, peace, and determination in the fight against terrorism to ensure that the world, especially in our part of the Indian Ocean remains a safe and peaceful region. Once again, I reiterate the  pride and confidence of the Seychellois nation in the Seychelles Defence Forces.”

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GoG: Promoting Trans-boundary Management For Sustainable Socio-Economic Development

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…Mission builds upon previous efforts by AU-IBAR in the beneficiary countries (Benin and Togo) for the national validation of the report on the State of the Transboundary Marine Environment (SoME)

NAIROBI, Kenya, January 23, 2024/ — From January 21st to 27th, 2024, AU-IBAR is on a mission in the republics of Benin and Togo. The mission is dedicated to supporting the implementation of a Transboundary Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) initiative between the two nations. Funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), under the project “Conservation of Aquatic Biodiversity within the Framework of the Africa Blue Economy Strategy,” this initiative holds the promise of fostering socio-economic development through the judicious use of marine resources.

Collaborative Efforts: AU-IBAR is collaborating with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) body, the Abidjan Convention, and the World Bank-funded West African Coastal Area Management (WACA) Project. The SIDA-funded project, implemented by AU-IBAR, involves an assessment to map the extent of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) usage in Africa as a management tool for the conservation of aquatic biodiversity and ecosystems in the west, central, and northern regions of Africa.

Mission Objectives: This mission builds upon previous efforts by AU-IBAR in the beneficiary countries (Benin and Togo) for the national validation of the report on the State of Transboundary Marine Environment (SoME). The current objective is to secure joint expert validation of the SoME report and obtain high-level political endorsement for the provisions of the jointly validated report, demonstrating the commitment of both countries to the cause. Participants in the joint validation workshop include WACA project-nominated committee members from Benin and Togo, representatives from the Abidjan Convention, and government authorities from both nations, alongside relevant AU-IBAR staff.

Political Commitment: The opening statements during the joint meeting saw representatives from the Governments of Benin and Togo, the Executive Secretary of the Abidjan Convention, and the representative of the Director of AU-IBAR express unwavering commitment to the transboundary marine management process. Both the Director of AU-IBAR and the Executive Secretary of the Abidjan Convention reiterated their support for the Governments of Benin and Togo in realizing their shared vision for the sustainable management of coastal and marine resources in the designated shared maritime boundary.

Key Outcomes: The pinnacle achievement of the joint meeting is the validation of the study report on the state of the marine environment between Benin and Togo. This validation marks a significant milestone towards establishing the transboundary MSP between the two countries. AU-IBAR Director, DR Huyam Salih, emphasized that this accomplishment is a crucial step forward in enhancing aquatic biodiversity conservation and environmental protection in the Gulf of Guinea.

Conclusion: The joint expert consultation workshop serves as a testament to the collaborative efforts aimed at promoting transboundary management of shared marine aquatic ecosystems in the Gulf of Guinea. The validated report and political commitment from Benin and Togo are integral to realizing the socio-economic development potential inherent in the sustainable use of marine resources. As AU-IBAR continues its mission, the hope is that this initiative will serve as a model for other regions seeking to harmonize efforts for the conservation and management of their shared marine ecosystems.
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U.S.-British Strikes In Yemen Left 5 Dead, Say Houthi Rebels

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The U.S. and British military strikes in Yemen have left five Houthi fighters dead and six others injured, the Iran-aligned rebels said on Friday, vowing retaliation.

“The American and British enemy bears full responsibility for its criminal aggression,’’ the Houthi military spokesman Yehya Saree said in a statement.

Saree said the massive attack had targeted several Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen including the capital Sana’a.

“It will not pass unanswered and without punishment.

“The Yemeni Armed Forces will not hesitate to target sources of threat and all hostile targets on the ground and in the sea,’’ he said. 

  • dpa
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