Rescue organisations SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) have decided to stop the Aquarius refugee rescue mission in the Mediterranean Sea after what it calls “a relentless ongoing political, judicial and administrative campaign backed by several European states”.

The decision, made public late on Thursday evening, was made after the Aquarius had to remain in port for the last two months following allegations of breaking the law.

“Repeated and targeted attacks against life-saving aid organizations, coupled with the EU states’ criminal disregard of their maritime and international obligations, lead to mounting life-threatening risks for people,” Director of SOS Mediterranee Germany Verena Papke said in a statement.

“The Aquarius has helped in filling void in the Mediterranean and now the repeated unacceptable attacks resulted in stopping it,” she added.

“Today, search and rescue at sea is nearly non-nexistent, portraying the failure of Europe.”