Overshadowed by the huge controversy surrounding the rescue boat ‘Aquarius’ this past week, is the news that a US naval vessel has picked up 40 migrants off the coast of Libya, and as of this writing is stuck with them.
Other so-called ‘rescue boats’ won’t take them fearing that they will be blocked from landing in nearby European ports.
Could the illegal aliens be brought to the US?
The most detailed story I could find is at The Daily Beast from two days ago:
Migrants Are Stranded on a U.S. Warship With Nowhere to Go
ROME—There is a perfect Italian word for the situation the American warship USNS Trenton finds itself in right now. Intrappolata. It means trapped, entangled and ensnared in a situation that is is going to prove very tricky to get out of.
On Tuesday, the Trenton, a Spearhead-class high-speed transport that is part of ongoing 6th Fleet military operations off the coast of Libya, came upon a migrant boat in distress and disintegrating. People were in the water. Several corpses were floating nearby. The Trenton called for help and, along with the German non-governmental organization Sea Watch whose ship was patrolling nearby, the American crew carried out the rescue of 40 African migrants and observed what appeared to be 12 people in the water who had died. The living are all on the American ship. The anonymous dead were left to the mercy of the elements.
“On June 12, 2018 USNS Trenton, in accordance with its obligations under international law, rendered assistance to mariners in distress that it encountered while conducting routine operations in the Mediterranean Sea,” the Sixth Fleet said in an earlier statement. “Forty people have been recovered and are being provided food, water, and medical care on board Trenton. U.S. authorities are coordinating with our international partners to determine their ultimate disposition.”
A better word than “coordinating” would be “negotiating,” because right now political and diplomatic confusion reigns over the lives of people trying to make the incredibly dangerous voyage from North Africa to southern Europe.
On Wednesday, Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini made it very clear that Italy’s ports would remain closed to all but Italian-flagged ships if they carry rescued migrants.
The political wrangling puts the Trenton in a particularly problematic situation. The German-flagged NGO that helped with the rescue is worried that if it agrees to take the migrants off the Americans’ hands, it could end up in a standoff like the Aquarius.
Ahhhhh! Send them to America?