The standoff between the Italian government and relief ships full of migrants rescued from the sea appears to be coming to an end. 145 of the 179 migrants aboard the German relief ship Humanity 1 disembarked last night in the Sicilian port of Catania.
A compromise was reached over the 10-day battle between the NGO ship Humanity 1 and the Italian government. On Sunday night, 144 patients, women and children went to the beach in the Sicilian port city of Catania. The migrants were taken by bus to shelters elsewhere on the island.
Thirty-five men were left on the auxiliary ship, and the crew of Humanity 1 hope to be able to land in Italy. Humanity 1 spokeswoman Petra Krechuk has doubts about the legality of this solution. “According to international law, the rescue operation has ended when the shipwrecked is on the shore in a safe place,” she told reporters gathered on the dock in Catania. “It is not right that some people are allowed to disembark and some are not. It is illegal.”
two more ships
Two other aid ships, the Geo Barents from MSF and the Rise Above, have been given permission to dock in Sicily. There are a total of 846 migrants on board these two ships. Also from these ships the sick, women and children may go ashore and men must remain on board. The three ships have rescued hundreds of migrants from boats off the Libyan coast in recent weeks. They are trying to cross into Europe from there.
For ten days, the Italian government refused to allow the German-flagged aid ship with 179 African migrants on board at all to enter an Italian port. The captain of Humanity says he has requested permission from both Italy and Malta 11 times and was equally denied permission.
under the norwegian flag
Even after urging the German government to help immigrants, Interior Minister Piantedosi maintained his position. “Italy does not intend to receive all immigrants,” he said. The Minister is of the opinion that the countries whose flag relief ships sail should take care of the migrants on board. In this case Germany and Norway, MSF is sailing under the Norwegian flag.
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