Italy prevents 35 migrants from disembarking rescue boat at port

Catania, Sicily (AP) — Italian authorities announced on Sunday that far-right-led government It has taken a tough stance against private salvage vessels in Italian waters.

Impact of Guided Directive Interior Minister Matteo Piante Dosi’s remarks became clearer overnight. Humanity 1, with 179 rescued passengers on board, was allowed access to Sicilian ports, but was run by a non-governmental organization, and she also rescued her three ships with 900 people on board. The boat remained at sea.

NGOs reported people sleeping on floors and decks. Spread of fever-inducing infections And scabies, and food and medicine nearing exhaustion. Some migrants have been on the ship for two weeks or longer.

Officials at the German-run charity SOS Humanity, which runs Humanity 1, challenged Italy’s decision to distinguish between passengers considered “vulnerable” and those who were not. All of the ship’s passengers were rescued at sea, which alone qualified it as a safe port under international law, the organization said.

“Not everyone was allowed to disembark, as we feared,” SOS Humanity spokesman Wasir Shawzeil said on Sunday.

“Our doctors were asked to select people who were in poor health. The doctors replied that they were all in a vulnerable situation, so she didn’t select them.

Over 100 of the 179 people in Humanity 1 unaccompanied minorsaccording to the charity.

Eventually, two Italian doctors boarded the ship after midnight and performed tests overnight to determine if the people on board had any fragile medical conditions.

“Doctors declared that 36 people were not in a state of emergency. After receiving the news, one person collapsed and lost consciousness and had to be taken by ambulance.”So 35 people were on board. increase.

“People’s condition is as you can imagine. It’s very devastating,” he said.

Humanity 1 has not yet received orders to leave port, as specified in a directive signed by the three Italian ministers on Friday night. It specified that the ship could remain in Italian waters only long enough to identify vulnerable passengers, such as minors and those with medical emergencies.

“Everyone has the right to disembark and we expect everyone to be able to disembark,” Schauseil said. “I don’t think this is valid under international law.”

Three other ships with rescued migrants remained at sea, two in Italian waters and one in international waters, after the crew repeatedly requested safe harbor.

The Norwegian-flagged Geo Barents, carrying 572 migrants, and the German Rise Above, carrying 93 migrants, entered Italian waters east of Sicily over the weekend to seek protection from the storm.

The Ocean Viking, run by the European charity SOS Mediteranee, carried 234 migrants on board and remained on the high seas south of the Strait of Messina.

The confrontational stance taken by the government, led by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, led to a stalemate engineered by Matteo Salvini, who served as Minister of the Interior from 2018 to 2019 (now Meloni’s Minister of Infrastructure and in charge of ports). remind me.

Italy’s new government flag on a charity ship We must accept immigrants. Late Friday, Piante Dosi described such ships as “islands” under the jurisdiction of flag states.

In a Facebook video, Salvini reiterated his claims about the existence of humanitarian aid ships. facilitate smugglers.

NGOs reject the government’s interpretation, arguing that the laws of the sea oblige the people in distress to be rescued and that coastal states are obliged to provide safe harbors as soon as possible.

Humanitarian aid ships have been denied safe harbor, but thousands of migrants arrived on Italian shores last week after being rescued either on fishing boats or at sea by Italian authorities. accounted for 85% of all arrivals.


Colleen Barry reports from Milan.


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