The European Court of Human Rights has asked Italy to provide information on the case of Sea Watch 3, a ship off the island of Lampedusa carrying rescued migrants who Italy has refused to allow to disembark. Italy's interior minister has said he will hold the Netherlands and the European Union “responsible” for the fate of the 36 migrants on board.
Italy has refused to allow the Sea Watch 3 into its territorial waters and the port of the southern island of Lampedusa. Only a small group of migrants on board the ship, including two pregnant women, were allowed to disembark.
The Dutch-flagged vessel, representing an German organization that rescues migrants at sea, picked up the migrants from an inflatable raft in the Mediterranean 12 days ago. The crew has refused to return them to Libya, saying Tripoli is not a safe port.
Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has been operating a “closed ports” policy in Italy. He said he will hold the Netherlands and the European Union responsible for the fate of the migrants, adding that he has written to his counterpart in the Netherlands.
Salvini said vessels that are illegal will not come to Italy. He said reception is guaranteed for those truly fleeing war, adding that his figures indicate only small percentage of recent arrivals were fleeing conflict.