DESPERATE

Migrant Jumps Off Rescue Vessel In Icy Water off Malta After Two Weeks At Sea

For more than two weeks, 32 people, including three small children and four unaccompanied teens, rescued in the central Mediterranean from a sinking dinghy have been held hostage by European immigration policies onboard a German rescue vessel. The vessel, Seawatch-3, along with a second ship run by the German NGO Sea-Watch, the Professor Albrecht Penck, which rescued an additional 17 migrants last week, have been refused a safe port of harbor by Malta and Italy. The two countries have pointed fingers at each other and argued that the rescued migrants should be returned to Libya from where they escaped inhumane detention centers. The rescue vessels are not sea worthy enough to make the long journey to Spain, which has taken the brunt of sea rescues since Italy's populist government closed all Italian ports to NGO rescue ships in June. During a sea storm over the weekend, the ships were allowed to shelter close to Malta where seas were calmer. There, one man jumped overboard to try to swim to shore, but was quickly re-rescued after the frigid waters proved too difficult to traverse. On Sunday, Pope Francis weighed in, urging a solution to the plight of the 49 migrants. “I make a heartfelt appeal to European leaders to show concrete solidarity for these people,” the pope said during his Sunday Angelus address to crowds that had gathered in St. Peter's Square in Rome. “They are only seeking a safe port where they can disembark.”