Italy seizes German charity lifeboat | Abroad
Italian authorities stopped and seized a migrant lifeboat on Saturday. The craft named Louise Michel belongs to a German charity. On Friday, Italy also seized a lifeboat belonging to Doctors Without Borders (MSF).
The right-wing government of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has announced that it has limited the number of asylum seekers arriving in Italy. To this end, a law has been passed that requires rescue vessels to carry out only one rescue mission at a time. Then they must return to a port designated by the authorities.
The Italian coastguard had ordered the Louise Michel to dock in the port of Trapani, but this was not respected. The boat carried out a rescue operation in Libyan waters and then went in search of three other migrant boats. The coast guard then seized the boat.
The Louise Michel is now moored in the port of the island of Lampedusa. “We know that dozens of boats are currently in distress off Lampedusa, but we cannot help,” the humanitarian organization wrote on Twitter. “This is unacceptable!”
According to the Italian government, the use of rescue vessels encourages migrants to make the crossing. Critics deny this, saying these ships only pick up a small percentage of people who want to reach the EU via Italian shores.
The International Maritime Organization, a United Nations body, estimates that more than 1,400 people will be missing in the Mediterranean by 2022.
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