Published: September 13, 2019
A 23-year-old Nigerian woman who was attempting to illegally migrate to Europe from Libya, gave birth to a baby boy as soon as she was airlifted from the ship full of immigrants, according to the humanitarian group, Doctors Without Borders.
The woman and other immigrants were rescued from Libya by authorities and were transferred to a ship jointly owned by Doctors Without Borders and SOS Mediterranee.
The Nigerian woman and her husband were then transferred to Malta by a military helicopter on Wednesday, September 11, 2019, after the Ocean Viking rescue ship called for a medical evacuation.
The Nigerian woman gave birth on Thursday, September 12 in Malta.
Mother and child are doing well, doctors say.
A boat full of migrants is seen next to Swedish ship Poseidon during a rescue operation in the sea off the coast of Libya in this still image taken from an August 26, 2015 video. REUTERS/Swedish Coast Guard Handout via Reuters TV - Reuters
The ship has requested a safe place of disembarkation in Malta or Italy for the 82 other migrants on board.
The ship’s operators say Malta rejected the request and Italy is yet to respond.
A dangerous voyage across the open seas
Thousands of Nigerians make the dangerous trip to Libya each year, from where they hope to land in Italy, Greece, Germany or Spain.
Hundreds don’t survive the journey by dinghies or ships and perish in the Mediterranean.
Scores of immigrants have drowned in the Mediterranean in the last decade, following shipwrecks.
It is estimated that some 900 people have lost their lives attempting to cross the Mediterranean in 2019.
More than 3,600 refugees and asylum seekers are currently held in Libyan detention centres, with many at risk of serious abuse.
Others are caught in the Libyan conflict.
In early July, more than 50 refugees and migrants were killed in an airstrike on the Tajoura Detention Centre, east of Libya’s capital of Tripoli.
A young boy is seen among the migrants and refugees seated on a rubber boat and waiting to be rescued by the Topaz Responder, a rescue ship run by Maltese NGO "Moas" and the Italian Red Cross, off the Libyan coast (Reuters) AFP
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has called for renewed efforts to reduce the loss of life at sea, including a return of EU State search and rescue vessels; and the setting up of a refugee transit mechanism for evacuation of vulnerable refugees out of Libya.
“Legal and logistical restrictions on NGO search and rescue operations, both at sea and in the air, should be lifted. Coastal states should facilitate, not impede, efforts by volunteers to reduce deaths at sea”, the UNCHR said recently. source