While many migrant transport NGOs have ceased operations over the last few years, a report claims that millions of euros are still being spent by those operating in the Mediterranean.
The number of NGOs operating off the coast of Libya has dwindled since populist Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini closed the country’s ports in 2018, but two NGOs remain — and according to a report from newspaper Il Giornale, and they have a combined spend of millions per year.
German NGO Sea-Watch, which currently has a ship with 42 migrants off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa, took in 1.7 million euros last year and 1.6 million the year before.
In 2017 alone, the NGO is estimated to have spent around 1.9 million euros including 456,000 euros to purchase the vessel Sea-Watch 3 and another 328,000 to keep the ship fuelled and operational.
Sea-Watch was allocated 421,000 euros towards the ship Sea-Watch 2 and another 70,000 for the fuel and maintenance of Sea-Watch 1. The NGO also has a small aircraft named Moonbird based in Lampedusa, used to locate ships in the Mediterranean, which they paid 359,000 euros to begin operations.
Mediterranean taxi service… https://t.co/0tjubTV7Dm
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 24, 2017
In 2018, the figures were similar, although the NGO has only deployed Sea-Watch 3 at sea since late 2017. Between January and October of 2018, Sea-Watch 3 cost 89,000 euros in diesel fuel, 102,000 euros for “external services”, 77,000 euros for maintenance, and 33,000 euros for legal fees.
Part of the legal fees are likely to cover the trial of Sea-Watch 3 captain Pia Klemp, who has been brought up on charges of aiding illegal migration and could face up to 20 years in an Italian prison.
Mediterranea Saving Humans is the other migrant transport NGO still operating in the area, with their vessel the Mare Jonio. The NGO has so far received 98,115 euros from “Italian civil society organisations” and other individuals, along with a credit line of 465,000 euros from the Banca Etica bank.
From October 2018 to March of this year, the group claims to have received another 518,533 euros from various crowdfunding sources.
Head of Migrant Transport NGO Under Investigation for People Trafficking https://t.co/ULkq8SXvV7
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 4, 2019
According to the organisation’s website, the spending of the NGO is much higher than the number of donations and lines of credit, standing at 1.2 million euros as of March, spending 360,000 euros on the Mare Jonio and another 554,605 for six months of operating costs.
As with Sea-Watch, Mediterranea Saving Humans is also facing an investigation from Italian authorities with its head Luca Casarini being interrogated in April in regards to accusations of helping aid illegal migration.
INTERPOL: 50 Islamic State Jihadis from Tunisia Have Entered Italy Among Boat Migrants, May Be on Way to Rest of Europe https://t.co/V2yrDSUgun
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 1, 2018