Italy Bans German Migrant Ship from Entering Italian Waters
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini blocks NGO Mission Lifeline carrying 101 African migrants
Italy has blocked a German ship, carrying 101 migrants from northeast Africa, from entering Italian waters, according to reports.
The vessel, operated by the German NGO (non-governmental organization) Mission Lifeline, picked up the migrants around 30 miles off the coast of Libya.
As the ship is heading toward Italy, three Italian ministries have banned the migrant transport vessel "Eleonore" from approaching Italy’s coast.
Italy's leader Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, Defense Minister Elisabetta Trenta, and Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli signed a decree banning the ship from approaching Italian ports and unloading the migrants.
The head of the Mission Lifeline, Axel Steier, says that the ship is currently carrying 101 migrants, mostly of Libyan origin.
Steier says that both Italian and Maltese authorities are refusing to let the ship dock at their ports in order to offload the migrants.
Steier also revealed that passengers weren’t in any danger at the present moment.
However, he adds that the captain of the ship would go to one of the two countries in the event of an emergency.
“If the ship gets into distress at sea, it will travel to a port,” Steier declared.
Why Italian and Maltese ports are the only options, Steier didn’t say.
“It is not up to Mr. Salvini to decide, but to the captain,” Steier added.
Sources inside Italy’s Ministry of Internal Affairs contend that the unanimous decision made by the three ministers proves “the newly achieved compactness of the government in the face of another attempt by a German NGO to approach Italian territorial waters.”
Italy’s #populist leader, #MatteoSalvini, has recently continued his hardline approach to unwanted #migrants in his country by deporting over 1,500 from a refugee camp in Reggio before bulldozing the site.— Neon Nettle (@NeonNettle) March 12, 2019
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Although migrant transport ships operated by NGOs are technically banned from Italian waters, many have previously managed to dock at Italian ports after the situation onboard the vessel becomes direr.
Exceptions have been made so long as other European countries say they’re willing to take the migrants in.
Just last week, Malta allowed 356 migrants carried by the Ocean Viking to be offloaded at one of its ports.
The move came after six EU member states agreed to distribute the migrants among themselves.