PARIS – The Latest on migrants in Europe (all times local):
Three European non-governmental organizations are criticizing ongoing negotiations by the European Union to return to Libya 12 migrants rescued last week by a Spanish fishing vessel in the Central Mediterranean.
The Nuestra Madre de Loreto trawler has been stranded in waters north of Libya since last Thursday, awaiting permission to disembark the 12 migrants.
The NGOs — Open Arms, Sea Watch and Mediterranea — said Tuesday in a joint statement that Libya can't be considered a safe port and that migrants could be tortured or trafficked if returned.
Grouped in the #United4Med alliance, the three groups say Spain should urge Malta and Italy to open their ports to the migrants.
Spain's foreign minister said Monday that the two Mediterranean countries had rejected the migrants because their rescue took place in waters under Libya's jurisdiction.
French and British maritime authorities have rescued 18 migrants in two small boats from the English Channel as they tried to get to Britain, the latest of several recent cases.
The French Maritime Prefecture said that its vessels intercepted nine migrants before dawn Tuesday and took them to the port of Dunkirk.
A statement said that minutes later a second alert went out for a boat in trouble, carrying nine migrants, off the coast of Dover. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution recovered them.
The migrants' nationalities weren't disclosed.
Last week, French maritime authorities said 18 migrants were rescued, 11 picked up by the French from a boat in distress, and seven intercepted by British authorities.
In early November, the British coast guard picked up 37 Iranian migrants in two operations.