Ship with 150 rescued migrants may enter Italian waters

A ship with around 150 rescued migrants on board has set course for the Italian island of Lampedusa. This happened after a court in Rome decided that the vessel should be admitted to Italian territorial waters.


A ship with around 150 rescued migrants on board has set course for the Italian island of Lampedusa. This happened after a court in Rome decided that the vessel should be admitted to Italian territorial waters.

The organization behind the Open Arms ship had the alarm sound about the situation on board. The tension is high there, according to the founder. "There is disagreement about places in the shade, places in the sun, about food and about the line in front of the toilet," he told a Spanish radio station.

The court acknowledged on Wednesday that there is a "particularly serious" situation and that immediate assistance must be provided to persons in desperate need of it. The decision does not state whether the ship may moor and whether the persons on board may land in Italy.

Camps responded elatedly to the ruling. "We can enter Italian waters without fear of a fine or the seizure of our ship," he told journalists in Madrid. It would not be the intention to moor without permission, as the ship Sea-Watch 3 did before.

The ruling is a setback for Minister Matteo Salvini (Home Affairs). He blames aid organizations that rescue migrants from boats to help human smugglers in Libya. The organizations behind rescue ships such as the Open Arms say they are saving lives.

The Salvini Ministry has announced that it will appeal the ruling. "The Open Arms stayed in Libyan and Maltese waters for days. They disrupted other rescue operations and systematically gathered people with the political purpose of bringing them to Italy," the department said.

ref: nunl