Borders Immigration AsylumMediterranean seaCivil protection

Europeans sleep soundly, the Americans are here!

(credit: US Navy)
(credit: US Navy)

(BRUSSELS2) Due to a lack of Europeans available, it is the amphibious transport ship of the US navy, theUSS San Antonio (its nickname, LPD-17) which intervened in the Mediterranean to recover refugees in distress who were drifting aboard the dinghi south of Malta (60 miles from the island). The 128 people – claiming to be Somali – were then transferred to a Maltese patrol vessel (the P-52). And as the US Navy kindly points out, this is at the request of the Maltese government.

« Distressed persons wave after being transferred from the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17) to Armed Forces of Malta offshore patrol vessel P52. San Antonio provided food, water, medical attention, and temporary shelter to the rescued. San Antonio rescued 128 men adrift in an inflatable raft after responding to a call by the Maltese Government. » An operation which was not easy in rough seas and a force 6 wind (sailors will understand ;-).

The dinghi was actually spotted by a Maltese force helicopter on Wednesday (October 16), drifting about 75 miles from the coast. The alert given to the island's coordination center, it was the P61 which first headed towards the scene. Due to the weather, a merchant ship diverted to offer a " migrant protection”, by the time help arrives. Finally, given the state of the sea, it was the American ship which was approaching bringing the refugees back to a calmer area to hand them over to the Maltese today at noon.

Comments : congratulations to the US Navy. The solidarity of seafarers played a role. But it will be very difficult for Europeans to continue teaching the world lessons if they are unable to do basic “Search and Rescue” so close to their shores, having to call on the Americans. Power is not only measured by the number of inhabitants, during the Euro, by fine speeches but by the ability to combine speech with actions. By reacting quickly! Malta would be entitled today to activate the solidarity clause of the Lisbon Treaty, which has been talked about so much, and which is not really applicable, the implementing text still circulating in the meanders of the capitals!

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

Privacy Preferences Center