Domenica, 23 Settembre 2018
ROME

Govt attacks 'illegal' NGO migrant rescue off Libya (5)

English
© ANSA

Rome, June 21 - Interior Minister Matteo Salvini and
Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli both launched high-voltage
attacks on German NGO Mission Lifeline on Thursday after its
ship rescued over 200 migrants off the coast of Libya.
"The Lifeline NGO ship is operating in Libyan waters outside
all rules, outside international law," Toninelli, whose brief
includes control of Italy's ports, said on Facebook.
"They have taken on 250 boat-wreck victims even though they
don't have the technical means to guarantee their safety or the
safety of the crew," he added, saying he had asked the Italian
Coast Guard to launch a probe.
Interior Minister Salvini said the Lifeline should not expect
to have access to Italy's ports.
"Have you forced things by not listening to the Libyan and
Italian coast guard? Fine, then you can take this load of human
beings to Holland," Salvini said on Facebook about the Lifeline,
which was reportedly Dutch-flagged.
"Take the long route".
Salvini has spearheaded the tough stance on migrants of the
new League/5-Star Movement (M5S) government that saw
migrant-rescue ship Aquarius, which is run by another NGO, have
to travel to Valencia last week after it was denied permission
to dock in an Italian port.
The Netherlands said Thursday that it is not true that the
Lifeline and another NGO-run migrant-rescue ship, the Seefuchs,
are sailing under Dutch flags.
"The Seefuchs and Lifeline are not sailing under Dutch flag
as per UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea)
flag state responsibility," the Netherlands representation at
the EU said via Twitter.
"These ships are owned by German NGOs and not entered into
the NL ships register.
"So NL is not able to give instructions to these ships. Italy
is aware of the Dutch position.
"We explicitly share Italy's concerns about the sustained
irregular flow of migrants who cross the Mediterranean Sea, the
unintended side effects of rescue operations and the precarious
position of Italy as first country of arrival," it added in a
subsequent tweet. "Solidarity is required".
Mission Lifeline NGO, meanwhile, denied that its rescue was
illegal and called for a port of safety to be assigned.
"LIFELINE urges a Port of Safety for 224 people rescued in
international waters, in line with international law," it said
via Twitter.
"The LIFELINE was the best equipped asset on scene, due to a
situation in need of immediate response, ppl had been taken on
board.

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