Despair of migrants on rescue ship

Three people transferred to Italian coastguard ship after self-harming and suicide attempt

Abdullah Kurdi and his siter Tima react in front of a Sea-Eye rescue boat named after his son and her nephew Alan Kurdi during its inauguration in Palma de Mallorca on February 10,  2019.  The former research vessel "Professor Albrecht Penck" was rebaptised "Alan Kurdi", after the Syrian boy who was drowned during a ship wreck in the Mediterranean Sea. / AFP / JAIME REINA
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The Italian coastguard has taken three distressed people from a German ship after a man tried to kill himself 10 days after being rescued off the coast of Libya, charity officials said.

The 24-year-old, who was suffering from severe anxiety and haunted by his experiences in a Libyan jail, tried to kill himself early on Wednesday, according to the German charity, Sea-Eye, which is running the rescue ship. His nationality not identified.

Sea-Eye said that despair and hopelessness was reaching an “unprecedented level” on the ship with a man self-harming over a period of days after Italian and Maltese authorities refused to allow the ship to land because of the 149 rescued migrants on board.

Three of the most distressed were allowed to transfer to an Italian coastguard vessel after a Sea-Eye request on Wednesday.

“The people are totally desperate and have been held on the Alan Kurdi for ten days,” said operations manager Jan Ribbeck. “They indicated they wanted to jump into the water to reach the Italian boats. They almost couldn’t be calmed down.”

Instead of being allowed to dock, the charity said that Italy was preparing a boat to take the 149 on board to be taken care of and quarantined. It was not immediately clear what would happen after that.