By Meryem Goktas
ANKARA (AA) – Turkish Red Crescent President Kerem Kinik on Saturday called for the protection of rescue ship Aquarius.
The Aquarius, operated by the SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders (MSF), saves migrant lives in the Mediterranean Sea. It has faced a blockade for the second time.
The ship was de-flagged first by Gibraltar and recently Panama.
Kinik, who is also vice president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC ), said in a statement that Aquarius "may continue its activities under the Turkish ensign".
"We propose that Aquarius resumes its activities with the Turkish ensign. I believe, our country, hosting today more than 4 million refugees will be an important part of a solution to this issue," he said.
"Turkish Red Crescent has taken an initiative to support of Aquarius to continue sailing. A support to save more lives among those fleeing their countries and are at risk of death while crossing the Mediterranean," the statement added.
According to the statement Aquarius has been rescuing migrant lives in the Mediterranean Sea for the last three years.
It has saved 29,523 lives in the Mediterranean, a migration route for those seeking asylum in Europe.