Aid groups call Italy’s blockade of rescue ship ‘political’

Aid groups call Italy’s blockade of rescue ship ‘political’

Milan, September 20

The German humanitarian group Sea-Watch on Sunday condemned as politically motivated the blockade of its ship within the Sicilian port of Palermo by Italian authorities after an 11-hour inspection.

Philipp Hahn, head of the Sea-Watch four mission, referred to as the justification “flimsy” and a ”systematic transfer to stop civil sea rescue operations within the central Mediterranean”.

The most important purpose cited was that saving lives didn’t conform to the vessel’s registration.

Italian officers additionally stated there have been too many life jackets on board whereas on the identical time that the boat’s sewage system was not enough for the variety of individuals rescued.

It is the fifth rescue ship blocked by Italian authorities in as many months.

The Sea-Watch four is operated by 4 humanitarian teams, together with Sea-Watch and Doctors Without Borders.

The vessel had rescued 354 individuals, together with 98 unaccompanied minors, households, pregnant girls and youngsters.           

It waited for days to be assigned a secure port, till survivors had been transferred to a ferry for quarantine.

The Sea-Watch four crew additionally underwent two-week quarantine off Palermo.

“The Sea-Watch 4 is only at sea because of the absence of state-led search and rescue capacity at the world’s deadliest sea border,” Doctors Without Borders stated.

It accused Europe of “disregarding its legal and moral duty to save lives”, additionally citing insurance policies to bolster the Libyan Coast Guard to dam smugglers’ ships from leaving the nation, which isn’t thought-about a secure haven and the place many have reported torture.

So far this yr, 379 individuals attempting to succeed in Europe through lawless Libya have died or gone lacking on the perilous Mediterranean Sea crossing, 111 of these in August, the group stated.

Meanwhile, the German-flagged ship Alan Kurdi, operated by Sea-Eye, rescued 114 individuals Saturday in two operations.

The Alan Kurdi was the primary to be detained in early May after disembarking 150 individuals. AP