International

Italy refuses entry to rescue ships

Stranded at sea: Migrants waving from aboard a ship operated by the German NGO Mission Lifeline.

Stranded at sea: Migrants waving from aboard a ship operated by the German NGO Mission Lifeline.  

Interior Minister says they want to stop the business of trafficking and mafia

Italy defiantly declared on Saturday that its ports were closed to foreign-flagged rescue ships as German charity vessel Lifeline lay off the coast of Malta in limbo with more than 230 migrants aboard.

Malta — which is also refusing to take in the boat in a new diplomatic stand-off with Italy — nevertheless said it had sent in humanitarian supplies.

“The Lifeline, an illegal ship with 239 immigrants on board is in Maltese waters,” Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini wrote on Facebook. “These boats can forget about reaching Italy, I want to stop the business of trafficking and mafia.”

Mr. Salvini’s tough talk came on the eve of a emergency mini-summit in Brussels to address the divisive issue of how the EU can tackle the renewed influx of migrants and refugees seeking a new life in Europe.

400 migrants rescued

Meanwhile, more than 400 migrants were rescued in three operations off the coast of Spain on Saturday, just days after Madrid took in the more than 600 rejected by Italy and Malta.

The Italian government has said both the Lifeline, run by German NGO Mission Lifeline, and another ship Seefuchs, run by another German charity Sea-Eye, would be seized and directed to Italian ports for a probe “into their legal status”.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 2:50:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/italy-refuses-entry-to-rescue-ships/article24242043.ece

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