After fourteen days at sea the captain of the rescue vessel Sea-Watch 3 entered Italian waters to bring the group they rescued into safety. The EU and Member States are coordinating a solution but Italian authorities prevent the ship from entering the port in Lampedusa.
Captain Carola Rackete defied the refusal of Italian authorities to let the rescue vessel, which had rescued 53 people on June 12, enter Italian waters thereby risking a EUR 50 000 fine. “I know this is risky, but the 42 shipwrecked on board are exhausted. I will bring them to safety”. Despite Italian authorities warning that there was no space to dock Sea Watch 3 continued towards the port of Lampedusa and Italian authorities entered the ship. The Guardia di Finanza prevented attempts to disembark via speed boats, stating the situation will be resolved soon. Two people were disembarked due to medical emergencies.
A delegation of Italian parliamentarians boarded the ship Thursday afternoon, and said they would remain on board until the migrants were allowed to disembark. Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini said, those rescued should be taken either to Germany or to the Netherlands, where the ship and the operating organisation Sea Watch are registered.
EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said that the Commission was working closely with member states to find a solution for relocating the migrants on board Sea-Watch 3 but stressed that “a solution for the people on board is only possible once they are disembarked. This is why I hope that Italy, in this particular incident, will contribute to a swift resolution for the persons on board.”
Spain’s maritime rescue service reports that it picked up 290 migrants over the last weekend who attempted to cross the Mediterranean Sea. The Armed Forces of Malta rescued 101 people overall crossing from Libya in the course of last week. The Libyan coastguard reportedly intercepted five rubber boats carrying 199 migrants over returned them to Libya.
For further information:
- ECRE,A Contingency Plan for Disembarkation and Relocation, January 2019
- StateWatch, Working Paper: Guidelines on temporary arrangements for disembarkation, June 2019
- ECRE, Mediterranean: Deaths, Rescues and Political Manoeuvres Continue, June 2019
- ECRE,Interview: Stranded at Sea – Observations from the Deck of the Sea-Watch 3, June 2019
- ECRE, Rescue Meltdown on the Med, June 2019
- ECRE, Back and Forth on the Med: Rescues, Deaths, Interceptions, Resistance, June 2019
- ECRE, Interceptions and Reluctant Rescues on the Mediterranean, May 2019
- ECRE, Italy: Salvini Faces Headwind from Two Fronts, May 2019
- ECRE, Tragedy and Chaos Continues on the Mediterranean, May 2019
- ECRE, Continued Stand Off over Rescued Migrants Unfolds in European Waters, April 2019
- ECRE, Spain: Open Arms Search and Rescue Vessel Denied Permission to Conduct Mission, January 2019
- ECRE, Malta Charges Five Rescued Migrants with ‘Terrorist Activities’ while Facts Remain Unclear, April 2019