The Swedish coastal guard helped rescue 1,100 refugees in the Mediterranean Sea in April, with one of its aircraft currently included in the EU-run Operation Hermes.
The Swedish plane, which is now based in Sicily, has discovered several overcrowded boats carrying refugees from countries Syria, Eritrea, Mali and Libya.
“It’s the same kind of boat every time. They are typically Libyan fishing boats…It seems like an endless stream,” commander Leif Snäckerström told Swedish Radio News.
The plane communicates with a liaison office in Rome, where a Swede also works. Italian ships are then sent out to the overcrowded boats to receive the refugees and prevent drowning accidents like the tragic incident at the island of Lampedusa last year where several people died near the shore.
Since then, the EU has been pushing efforts to rescue boat refugees in the Mediterranean, including through Operation Hermes. Frontex, which coordinates and develops European border management, funds the Swedish contribution to the operation.
“It feels strange to sit and watch people who have probably fled from something dreadful and have left their homes hopefully to get to something better,” said Snäckerström.
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Dreadful? Really? I guess Europe better ready for all of Africa then. By then it won’t be Europe anymore of course.