Scores of migrants sought refuge on Mediterranean oil rig

Scores of migrants sought refuge on Mediterranean oil rig
2 min read
06 January, 2022
The migrants spent Monday night on an oil platform at sea and were handed over to Tunisian authorities on Tuesday.
Thousands of refugees attempt the dangerous crossing to Europe every year [Getty-file photo]

Around 70 migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean on wooden boats took refuge on an oil platform overnight, energy giant Shell and the private rescue ship MV Louise Michel said on Tuesday.

The Louise Michel rescued 31 people from their drifting wooden boat in bad weather on Monday, but another 70 people climbed onto a Shell oil platform located 120 kilometres from the Tunisian coast to wait out the night.

According to the Louise Michel, Shell did not call in the Maltese authorities to rescue the migrants, although the oil rig is located within a European search-and-rescue zone.

In parallel, Shell stated the migrants were "assisted and provided with water, food and dry clothes", and later handed over to a Tunisian navy vessel on Tuesday afternoon.

Sea-Watch, an organisation rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean, said on Twitter that the 70 migrants were "pulled back... to unsafety" in Tunisia.

The Louise Michel - named after a 19th-century French anarchist - is one of several ships attempting to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean. It is sponsored by British graffiti artist Banksy, who decorated the boat.

Tens of thousands of migrants and refugees attempt to reach Europe each year by boat. UN officials estimate that as many as 1,600 people have died or are missing in the Mediterranean in 2021 alone.