MSF vessel Aquarius ends rescue operations in the Mediterranean

MSF vessel Aquarius ends rescue operations in the Mediterranean
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) says it has been forced to end rescue operations in the Mediterranean carried out by the vessel, Aquarius.

The medical charity blamed "sustained attacks on search and rescue by European states".

Aquarius has been stuck in Marseille since its registration was revoked.

It has helped save migrants making the dangerous crossing to Europe from Libya and elsewhere but has faced strong opposition, particularly from Italy.

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has accused charities running rescue ships of collaborating with human traffickers operating out of Libya to run a "taxi service" to Italian ports.

Aquarius had been the last charity rescue ship still operating.

Announcing the decision to end its operations, MSF said EU countries, spearheaded by Italy, had failed to provide enough dedicated rescue capacity of their own, then had actively sabotaged the efforts of others trying to save lives in the Mediterranean, the BBC s Europe correspondent, Damian Grammaticas reports.

In a tweet, MSF Sea said "sustained attacks" by European nations "will mean more deaths at sea, and more needless deaths that will go unwitnessed".

Aquarius has been laid up in Marseille for months, after Panama revoked its registration - citing intense political pressure from Italian authorities .
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