Italy seizes Sea-Watch 3 rescue vessel

Date: 
May, 2019
Country: 
Italy

Italian prosecutors on Sunday impounded rescue vessel Sea-Watch 3 for breaching immigration rules despite government attempts to block the ship from reaching an Italian port.

The ship rescued 65 migrants off the coast of Libya last week. It had originally signaled its intention to disembark them at an Italian port, but was blocked by Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

Salvini, who leads the far-right League Party, had closed Italian ports to the ship and banned it from entering Italian territorial waters. But days later, the Italian coastguard agreed to take custody of families with children and transferred them to Lampedusa.

The remaining 47 migrants disembarked at Lampedusa on Sunday evening as part of the order to seize the ship.

"The Italian authorities finally allowed the disembarkation of our remaining guests," Sea-Watch said in a tweet. "The constitution still has more power than a Minister, who disrespects the law according to the UN. We are grateful to the Italian people who defend solidarity."

Source: DW