A ship of the Spanish refugee relief organization “Open Arms”: It had to go to Barcelona, because Italy had forbidden the ship to dock at its ports. (Source: CharliexPerez / imago)
Aid organizations are already dismissed by Italy, now also official rescue operations are no longer allowed to create in the ports of the country.
Italy intends in the future to deny vessels of international missions in the Mediterranean to enter its ports. Interior Minister Matteo Salvini wrote on Sunday in the short message service Twitter, he would submit this to the EU interior ministers meeting next Thursday in Innsbruck.
Unfortunately, over the past five years, Italian governments have signed agreements stating that “all these ships unload migrants in Italy,” added the deputy head of government and head of the far-right Lega.
Salvini wants to reduce refugee numbers to zero
Salvini thus referred to the Irish naval vessel “Samuel Beckett” with 106 refugees anchored in the Sicilian port of Messina on Sunday night. To the mentioned by him “missions” he makes no statements. One of them is the EU military mission “Sophia” for deploying refugee boats and arresting alleged smugglers. “Sophia” is under Italian command. Headquarters is Rome.
Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini: Now that no private refugee organizations were allowed to invest more in the ports of his country, now also official distress missions are to be dismissed. (Source: Samantha Zucch / imago)
Another operation called “Triton” by the EU Border Protection Agency Frontex also involved Nato Military Alliance ships.
The government in Rome is already banning private maritime rescue workers from using Italian ports. The German rescue ship “Lifeline” of the aid organization of the same name with 234 rescued refugees was therefore on a day long wandering in the Mediterranean, before it was allowed to land in Malta at the end of June. But the captain has to answer to the court there.
Italy also rejected the French rescue vessel “Aquarius” with 630 refugees on board. The refugees were finally allowed to go ashore in Spain.
According to the Italian government, almost 16,700 migrants have arrived on the country’s coast since the beginning of the year, 11,000 of them from Libya. That’s 80 percent less than last year, the Home Office said. Salvini wants to reduce the number to zero.