World News

Ship that rescued migrants in Mediterranean to help Rohingya

Posted September 5

— A rescue ship that has plucked tens of thousands of migrants from the Mediterranean is shifting operations to Southeast Asia to help Rohingya refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar, the aid group said.

The Malta-based MOAS, or Migrant Offshore Aid Station, announced the decision after Pope Francis had called for an international response to help the Rohingya Muslims.

It said in a statement Monday it would provide aid on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border "where a deadly exodus is unfolding."

The ship — named "Phoenix" — has rescued tens of thousands of migrants from smugglers boats that were distressed, sinking or capsized in the Mediterranean since it began operating in 2014.

However, the number of migrants leaving Libya's lawless coast has plummeted since July. The decrease has been attributed to increased Libyan coast guard patrols and an Italy-backed deal cut with the Libyan militias that long facilitated trafficking to crack down on smuggling instead.

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