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German ship rescues migrants in the Mediterranean

December 27, 2019

The charity ship Alan Kurdi reached a rubber boat carrying 32 migrants, ahead of an impending storm on the Mediterranean. According to the Sea-Eye rescue group, they all said they were Libyan citizens.

The charity boat Alan Kurdi
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Sea-Eye/F. Heinz

German humanitarian ship Alan Kurdi rescued 32 migrants in the Mediterranean, the organization Sea-Eye said on Friday.

The migrants were rescued from a rubber boat off the coast of Libya, two hours after the Alan Kurdi received an emergency call with coordinates for their location on Thursday night.

All of the rescued migrants said they were Libyan citizens, Sea-Eye said. Among them were a pregnant woman and 10 children, the youngest being three years old.

Sea-Eye spokesman Julian Pahlke said this time of year was dangerous for migrants stranded in the Mediterranean, as the weather can change unexpectedly. 

"Had we not found these people, they would have encountered a storm at sea tomorrow, at the latest. Their chances of survival would have been drastically reduced," Pahlke said.

The German rescue ship is now headed to the Italian island of Lampedusa, where it had also transported rescued refugees earlier this month.

"How safe can Libya be if the Libyans themselves and their families are putting their lives in danger at sea in order to leave the country quickly?" said Gorden Isler, chairman of Sea-Eye. 

The Alan Kurdi, which is named after a 3-year-old Syrian boy who drowned in the Mediterranean in 2015, offers humanitarian rescue assistance in the Mediterranean with the support of the Catholic Church.

This month's Christmas Mission has been financed by the archdiocese of the west German city of Paderborn.

jcg/msh (dpa, AFP)

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