500 refugees stranded at sea as Europe argues over who should accept them - The Libyan Report

500 refugees stranded at sea as Europe argues over who should accept them

At least 500 refugees are stranded in the Mediterranean as European countries argue over who should rescue them.

The group were saved by humanitarian aid groups after trying to cross the sea from north Africa.

The refugees are stranded on two boats, the Spanish-flagged charity vessel Open Arms and Norweigian-flagged Ocean Viking.

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Two charity groups, Doctors Without Borders and sea rescue group SOS Mediterranee are working on the Ocean Viking.

356 refugees are on board the vessel, while a further 150 rescued people on board Open Arms.

Shape Created with Sketch. World news in pictures Show all 50 left Created with Sketch. right Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. World news in pictures 1/50 14 August 2019 A woman walks with a Kashmir's flag to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir, during a ceremony to celebrate Pakistan's 72nd Independence Day at the Mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Karachi, Pakistan REUTERS 2/50 13 August 2019 The extraordinary moment a volcano erupted, shooting luminous hot lava from the surface, as a lightning bolt striked the centre of the mountain. Photographer Martin Reitze, 55, captured rare images of volcanic ash escaping from the Ebeko volcano in Russia whilst the lightning froze the ash cloud in time. Martin, from Munich, was standing around a kilometre away from the northern crater of the volcano when it erupted. The volcano expert said: "The strong lightning which shows in the image is a very rare exception, as it was much stronger than usual." Martin Reitze/SWNS 3/50 12 August 2019 People swim in a public bath pool in Zalakaros, Hungary. Some regions of the country have been issued the highest grade of warning by the National Meteorological Service as the temperatures may reach 33-38 centigrade. EPA 4/50 11 August 2019 A pro-democracy protester is held by police outside Tsim Sha Tsui Police station during a demonstration against the controversial extradition bill in Hong Kong AFP/Getty 5/50 10 August 2019 Muslim pilgrims make their way down on a rocky hill known as Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat, during the annual hajj pilgrimage, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia AP 6/50 9 August 2019 Waves hit a sea wall in front of buildings in Taizhou, China's eastern Zhejiang province. China issued a red alert for incoming Super Typhoon Lekima which is expected to batter eastern Zhejiang province early on August 10 with high winds and torrential rainfall. AFP/Getty 7/50 8 August 2019 A herder struggles with his flock across a motorway at the city cattle market, ahead of the Eid al-Adha in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Eid al-Adha is the holiest of the two Muslims holidays celebrated each year, it marks the yearly Muslim pilgrimage (Hajj) to visit Mecca, the holiest place in Islam. Muslims slaughter a sacrificial animal and split the meat into three parts, one for the family, one for friends and relatives, and one for the poor and needy. EPA 8/50 7 August 2019 Kazakh servicemen perform during a ceremony opening the International Army Games at the 40th military base Otar in Zhambyl Region, Kazakhstan. Reuters 9/50 6 August 2019 Paleontologist Naturalis Anne Schulp takes part in the construction of the skeleton of the Tyrannosaurus Rex called Trix in Naturalis in Leiden, The Netherlands. After a month-long tour of Europe, Trix is home in time for the opening of the new museum. 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Pink Meanies are jellyvorous, meaning they feed on other jelly species by reeling them in with their long tentacles. Discovering the Pink Meanie in its early ephyra stage meant the team could study its growth rate which turned out to be very quick as it grew to the metaephyra stage in about a week and a half. The Mexican pink meanie (Drymonema larsoni) was only discovered in the year 2000. A Mediterranean relative, known as the Big Pink Jellyfish (Drymonema dalmatinum) has been known to science since the 1800s but when spotted in 2014 it had been almost 70 years since the last sighting. These jellies are incredibly rare and this new South African species is no exception EPA 14/50 1 August 2019 Palestinian men breathe fire on the beach as entertainment for children during the summer vacation in Gaza City AFP/Getty 15/50 31 July 2019 A woman rows a boat through the lotus plants on the waters of Dal Lake in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir. The lake is a popular tourist destination because of its floating gardens and lotus flowers EPA 16/50 30 July 2019 An effigy of demon Ghantakarna is burnt to symbolize the destruction of evil and belief to drive evil spirits and ghost, during the Ghantakarna festival at the ancient city of Bhaktapur, Nepal Reuters 17/50 29 July 2019 Hundreds of hot air balloons take part in the Great Line at the Mondial Air Ballons festival, in an attempt to break the 2017 record of 456 balloons aligning in an hour during the biggest meeting in the world, in Chambley, France Reuters 18/50 28 July 2019 Anti-extradition bill protesters with umbrellas attend a rally against the police brutality in Hong Kong EPA 19/50 27 July 2019 A general view of stalls closed following yesterday's volcanic eruption at the tourism area of Mount Tangkuban Parahu in the north of Bandung, West Java province, Indonesia. Reuters 20/50 26 July 2019 Protesters rally against a controversial extradition bill in the arrivals hall at the international airport in Hong Kong AFP/Getty 21/50 25 July 2019 The pack rides in a valley during the eighteenth stage of the 106th edition of the Tour de France cycling race between Embrun and Valloire AFP/Getty 22/50 24 July 2019 Former special counsel Robert Mueller is sworn in to testify before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the investigation into Russian Interference of the 2016 Presidential Election Reuters 23/50 23 July 2019 People cool down at the fountains of Trocadero during a heatwave in Paris EPA 24/50 22 July 2019 Activists burn an effigy of President Rodrigo Duterte, depicted as a sea monster, during a protest near congress. This is to coincide with his state of the nation address in Manila AFP/Getty 25/50 21 July 2019 Protesters run from tear gas, fired by police, after a march against a controversial extradition bill in Hong Kong. The masked protesters covered the walls of China's office in Hong Kong with eggs and graffiti following another massive rally AFP/Getty 26/50 20 July 2019 Fans line the streets of Algiers to see the national Algerian football team take part in an open-top bus parade following their victory in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. They were celebrating their second Cup of Nations win, 29 years after their first triumph in 1990 AFP/Getty 27/50 19 July 2019 The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission is celebrated in a 17-minute show, "Apollo 50: Go for the Moon" which combined full-motion projection-mapping artwork on the Washington Monument and archival footage to recreate the launch of Apollo 11 Nasa/AP 28/50 18 July 2019 A pupil from Northlen Primary school sticks a poster of former president Nelson Mandela on a chalkboard, as they mark his birthday in Durban. July 18, marks 101 years since the birth of Mandela in 1918 AFP/Getty 29/50 17 July 2019 Firefighters rush to the scene to put out a fire that spread to parked cars in Jerusalem, following an extreme heat wave AFP/Getty Images 30/50 16 July 2019 Rescuers work at the site of collapsed building in Dongri area of Mumbai, India EPA 31/50 15 July 2019 A motorist drives past a destroyed house after a large earthquake that hit Surigao City, in the southern island of Mindanao, Philippines AFP/Getty Images 32/50 14 July 2019 French Gendarmes remove fences next to a burning portable toilet during clashes with protesters on the Champs Elysees avenue after the traditional Bastille Day military parade in Paris, France Reuters 33/50 13 July 2019 A recortador jumps over a bull during a contest in a bullring at the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain Reuters 34/50 12 July 2019 Japan's Megumu Yoshida and Yukiko Inui compete in the duet technical artistic swimming event during the 2019 World Championships at Yeomju Gymnasium in Gwangju AFP/Getty 35/50 11 July 2019 Hot air balloons fly over the city of Igualada during an early flight as part of the European Balloon Festival in Igualada, Spain. The European Balloon Festival has become the most important hot air balloon event in Spain and one of the biggest in Europe Getty 36/50 10 July 2019 USA's players take part in their champions parade through New York after winning the Women's World Cup at the weekend in France Reuters 37/50 9 July 2019 The pack rides during the fourth stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Nancy, France AP 38/50 8 July 2019 Temple Priest Siva Sri Arumugam Paskarakurukkal and Hindu devotees celebrate the Makorcavam temple festival at Germany's largest Hindu temple in Hamm, Germany EPA 39/50 7 July 2019 Megan Rapinoe lifts the Women's World Cup following USA's victory over The Netherlands at Stade de Lyon in the final held in France Getty 40/50 6 July 2019 Manneken Pis is dressed in the overall leader's yellow jersey, before the start of the Tour de France Stage 1 Reuters 41/50 5 July 2019 Sudanese protesters celebrate in the streets of Khartoum after ruling generals and protest leaders announced they have reached an agreement on the disputed issue of a new governing body AFP/Getty Images 42/50 4 July 2019 Demonstrators burn a national flag in front of the White House during a Fourth of July protest Reuters 43/50 3 July 2019 Smoke billows and flames propagate across the hillside near houses after the Stromboli volcano erupted in the north of Sicily. 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Located at the top of a department store, the zoo has been controversial for keeping animals in tiny, concrete cages EPA 45/50 1 July 2019 A protester breaks in to the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong during a protest on the 22nd anniversary of the territory's handover to China from Britain Reuters 46/50 30 June 2019 Riot police use rubber pellets to disperse LGBT rights activists as they try to gather for a pride parade, which was banned by the governorship, in central Istanbul, Turkey Reuters 47/50 29 June 2019 A member of the LGBTQ community participates in the Metro Manila Pride parade in Marikina City, Philippines Reuters 48/50 28 June 2019 Explosive charges blow up the remaining sections of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa, Italy after it partially collapsed last year killing 43 and injuring dozens AFP/Getty 49/50 27 June 2019 A forest fire flare up in Ziltendorf near Frankfurt, Germany as mainland Europe suffers an intense heatwave AFP/Getty 50/50 26 June 2019 One of the world's most hazardous volcanoes, Mount Ulawun in Papua New Guinea, erupts spewing lava and ash high into the air AFP/Getty 1/50 14 August 2019 A woman walks with a Kashmir's flag to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir, during a ceremony to celebrate Pakistan's 72nd Independence Day at the Mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Karachi, Pakistan REUTERS 2/50 13 August 2019 The extraordinary moment a volcano erupted, shooting luminous hot lava from the surface, as a lightning bolt striked the centre of the mountain. Photographer Martin Reitze, 55, captured rare images of volcanic ash escaping from the Ebeko volcano in Russia whilst the lightning froze the ash cloud in time. Martin, from Munich, was standing around a kilometre away from the northern crater of the volcano when it erupted. The volcano expert said: "The strong lightning which shows in the image is a very rare exception, as it was much stronger than usual." Martin Reitze/SWNS 3/50 12 August 2019 People swim in a public bath pool in Zalakaros, Hungary. Some regions of the country have been issued the highest grade of warning by the National Meteorological Service as the temperatures may reach 33-38 centigrade. EPA 4/50 11 August 2019 A pro-democracy protester is held by police outside Tsim Sha Tsui Police station during a demonstration against the controversial extradition bill in Hong Kong AFP/Getty 5/50 10 August 2019 Muslim pilgrims make their way down on a rocky hill known as Mountain of Mercy, on the Plain of Arafat, during the annual hajj pilgrimage, near the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia AP 6/50 9 August 2019 Waves hit a sea wall in front of buildings in Taizhou, China's eastern Zhejiang province. China issued a red alert for incoming Super Typhoon Lekima which is expected to batter eastern Zhejiang province early on August 10 with high winds and torrential rainfall. AFP/Getty 7/50 8 August 2019 A herder struggles with his flock across a motorway at the city cattle market, ahead of the Eid al-Adha in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Eid al-Adha is the holiest of the two Muslims holidays celebrated each year, it marks the yearly Muslim pilgrimage (Hajj) to visit Mecca, the holiest place in Islam. Muslims slaughter a sacrificial animal and split the meat into three parts, one for the family, one for friends and relatives, and one for the poor and needy. EPA 8/50 7 August 2019 Kazakh servicemen perform during a ceremony opening the International Army Games at the 40th military base Otar in Zhambyl Region, Kazakhstan. Reuters 9/50 6 August 2019 Paleontologist Naturalis Anne Schulp takes part in the construction of the skeleton of the Tyrannosaurus Rex called Trix in Naturalis in Leiden, The Netherlands. After a month-long tour of Europe, Trix is home in time for the opening of the new museum. AFP/Getty 10/50 5 August 2019 Flowers paying tribute to the eight-year-old boy who died after he was pushed under a train at Frankfurt am Main's station. The horrific crime happened last week and has led politicians to call for heightened security. AFP/Getty 11/50 4 August 2019 Mourners take part in a vigil near the border fence between Mexico and the US after a mass shooting at a Walmart store in El Paso killed 20 people. The suspected gunman behind shooting is believed to be a 21-year-old white man called Patrick Crusius. Reuters 12/50 3 August 2019 Pramac Racing's rider Jack Miller in action during a practice session at the Motorcycling Grand Prix of the Czech Republic. The race will take place on 4 August EPA 13/50 2 August 2019 An extremely rare Pink Meanie jellyfish on display at the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town. The Pink Meanie was discovered during a nightlight jellyfish dive by the collections team in the waters around Robben Island and in Cape Town Harbour. Pink Meanies are jellyvorous, meaning they feed on other jelly species by reeling them in with their long tentacles. Discovering the Pink Meanie in its early ephyra stage meant the team could study its growth rate which turned out to be very quick as it grew to the metaephyra stage in about a week and a half. The Mexican pink meanie (Drymonema larsoni) was only discovered in the year 2000. A Mediterranean relative, known as the Big Pink Jellyfish (Drymonema dalmatinum) has been known to science since the 1800s but when spotted in 2014 it had been almost 70 years since the last sighting. These jellies are incredibly rare and this new South African species is no exception EPA 14/50 1 August 2019 Palestinian men breathe fire on the beach as entertainment for children during the summer vacation in Gaza City AFP/Getty 15/50 31 July 2019 A woman rows a boat through the lotus plants on the waters of Dal Lake in Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir. The lake is a popular tourist destination because of its floating gardens and lotus flowers EPA 16/50 30 July 2019 An effigy of demon Ghantakarna is burnt to symbolize the destruction of evil and belief to drive evil spirits and ghost, during the Ghantakarna festival at the ancient city of Bhaktapur, Nepal Reuters 17/50 29 July 2019 Hundreds of hot air balloons take part in the Great Line at the Mondial Air Ballons festival, in an attempt to break the 2017 record of 456 balloons aligning in an hour during the biggest meeting in the world, in Chambley, France Reuters 18/50 28 July 2019 Anti-extradition bill protesters with umbrellas attend a rally against the police brutality in Hong Kong EPA 19/50 27 July 2019 A general view of stalls closed following yesterday's volcanic eruption at the tourism area of Mount Tangkuban Parahu in the north of Bandung, West Java province, Indonesia. Reuters 20/50 26 July 2019 Protesters rally against a controversial extradition bill in the arrivals hall at the international airport in Hong Kong AFP/Getty 21/50 25 July 2019 The pack rides in a valley during the eighteenth stage of the 106th edition of the Tour de France cycling race between Embrun and Valloire AFP/Getty 22/50 24 July 2019 Former special counsel Robert Mueller is sworn in to testify before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the investigation into Russian Interference of the 2016 Presidential Election Reuters 23/50 23 July 2019 People cool down at the fountains of Trocadero during a heatwave in Paris EPA 24/50 22 July 2019 Activists burn an effigy of President Rodrigo Duterte, depicted as a sea monster, during a protest near congress. This is to coincide with his state of the nation address in Manila AFP/Getty 25/50 21 July 2019 Protesters run from tear gas, fired by police, after a march against a controversial extradition bill in Hong Kong. The masked protesters covered the walls of China's office in Hong Kong with eggs and graffiti following another massive rally AFP/Getty 26/50 20 July 2019 Fans line the streets of Algiers to see the national Algerian football team take part in an open-top bus parade following their victory in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. They were celebrating their second Cup of Nations win, 29 years after their first triumph in 1990 AFP/Getty 27/50 19 July 2019 The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission is celebrated in a 17-minute show, "Apollo 50: Go for the Moon" which combined full-motion projection-mapping artwork on the Washington Monument and archival footage to recreate the launch of Apollo 11 Nasa/AP 28/50 18 July 2019 A pupil from Northlen Primary school sticks a poster of former president Nelson Mandela on a chalkboard, as they mark his birthday in Durban. July 18, marks 101 years since the birth of Mandela in 1918 AFP/Getty 29/50 17 July 2019 Firefighters rush to the scene to put out a fire that spread to parked cars in Jerusalem, following an extreme heat wave AFP/Getty Images 30/50 16 July 2019 Rescuers work at the site of collapsed building in Dongri area of Mumbai, India EPA 31/50 15 July 2019 A motorist drives past a destroyed house after a large earthquake that hit Surigao City, in the southern island of Mindanao, Philippines AFP/Getty Images 32/50 14 July 2019 French Gendarmes remove fences next to a burning portable toilet during clashes with protesters on the Champs Elysees avenue after the traditional Bastille Day military parade in Paris, France Reuters 33/50 13 July 2019 A recortador jumps over a bull during a contest in a bullring at the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain Reuters 34/50 12 July 2019 Japan's Megumu Yoshida and Yukiko Inui compete in the duet technical artistic swimming event during the 2019 World Championships at Yeomju Gymnasium in Gwangju AFP/Getty 35/50 11 July 2019 Hot air balloons fly over the city of Igualada during an early flight as part of the European Balloon Festival in Igualada, Spain. The European Balloon Festival has become the most important hot air balloon event in Spain and one of the biggest in Europe Getty 36/50 10 July 2019 USA's players take part in their champions parade through New York after winning the Women's World Cup at the weekend in France Reuters 37/50 9 July 2019 The pack rides during the fourth stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Nancy, France AP 38/50 8 July 2019 Temple Priest Siva Sri Arumugam Paskarakurukkal and Hindu devotees celebrate the Makorcavam temple festival at Germany's largest Hindu temple in Hamm, Germany EPA 39/50 7 July 2019 Megan Rapinoe lifts the Women's World Cup following USA's victory over The Netherlands at Stade de Lyon in the final held in France Getty 40/50 6 July 2019 Manneken Pis is dressed in the overall leader's yellow jersey, before the start of the Tour de France Stage 1 Reuters 41/50 5 July 2019 Sudanese protesters celebrate in the streets of Khartoum after ruling generals and protest leaders announced they have reached an agreement on the disputed issue of a new governing body AFP/Getty Images 42/50 4 July 2019 Demonstrators burn a national flag in front of the White House during a Fourth of July protest Reuters 43/50 3 July 2019 Smoke billows and flames propagate across the hillside near houses after the Stromboli volcano erupted in the north of Sicily. It killed a hiker and sent tourists fleeing into the sea AFP/Getty 44/50 2 July 2019 An orangutan looks out of its cage in the controversial Pata Zoo in Thailand. Located at the top of a department store, the zoo has been controversial for keeping animals in tiny, concrete cages EPA 45/50 1 July 2019 A protester breaks in to the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong during a protest on the 22nd anniversary of the territory's handover to China from Britain Reuters 46/50 30 June 2019 Riot police use rubber pellets to disperse LGBT rights activists as they try to gather for a pride parade, which was banned by the governorship, in central Istanbul, Turkey Reuters 47/50 29 June 2019 A member of the LGBTQ community participates in the Metro Manila Pride parade in Marikina City, Philippines Reuters 48/50 28 June 2019 Explosive charges blow up the remaining sections of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa, Italy after it partially collapsed last year killing 43 and injuring dozens AFP/Getty 49/50 27 June 2019 A forest fire flare up in Ziltendorf near Frankfurt, Germany as mainland Europe suffers an intense heatwave AFP/Getty 50/50 26 June 2019 One of the world's most hazardous volcanoes, Mount Ulawun in Papua New Guinea, erupts spewing lava and ash high into the air AFP/Getty

On Tuesday the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) urgently asked Europe's governments to let the passengers disembark.

"This is a race against time," said Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR special envoy for the central Mediterranean.

"Storms are coming, and conditions are only going to get worse."

Mr Cochetel said the ships "must be immediately allowed to dock" and their passengers "allowed to receive much-needed humanitarian aid."

"To leave people who have fled war and violence in Libya on the high seas in this weather would be to inflict suffering upon suffering," he added.

Italy has closed its ports to refugee ships. The current situation is the latest standoff between European countries and rescue boats.

Richard Gere, the actor, visited Open Arms on Friday, met the people on board and brought them food and water.

On Wednesday an Italian court upheld an appeal filed by Open Arms and suspended the Italian Interior Ministry's decision to bar the ship from the country's waters.

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The court ruled the ban violates international laws in light of the "exceptionally grave and urgent situation due to the protracted stay of the migrants on our boat," Open Arms said in a statement Wednesday.

The group said its ship is now heading towards Italian waters and expects to reach them Thursday morning.

Additionally, it has made new requests to both Italy and Malta for a port that will let them disembark the migrants on medical grounds.

Doctors Without Borders and SOS Mediterranee have both

Shortly after the ruling, Matteo Salvini, Italy's hard-right interior minister and de facto leader, reiterated his objection to humanitarian ships entering Italian ports.

The Italian Interior Ministry said it will appeal Wednesday's court ruling.

Nearly 600 refugees have died or gone missing in waters between Libya, Italy and Malta so far in 2019.

Additional reporting by agencies source