Martedì, 25 Settembre 2018
ROME

Italy requests Malta take migrant-rescue ship Lifeline (4)

English
© ANSA

Rome, June 22 - The Italian port authority on Friday
made a formal request for Malta to allow the NGO-run
migrant-rescue ship Lifeline to dock at a port on the
Mediterranean island, government sources said.
The Dutch-flagged ship, run by German NGO Mission Lifeline,
may be set to be at the centre of an international wrangle like
that which involved another NGO-run migrant-rescue vessel, the
Aquarius, which ended up docking in Valencia last week after
Italy and Malta refused it access to ports.
Italian Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli on Thursday
accused the Lifeline of "operating in Libyan waters outside all
rules, outside international law" after it took on 224 asylum
seekers.
He called on Malta to meet Italy's request and warned that
the vessel would be impounded if it does not go to Malta.
"If the Lifeline NGO ship does not go to the port of Malta,
which it should and must do out of a sense of humanity and out
of respect for the law of the sea, it will be sequestered at
once," Toninelli told Tgcom24.
"As an Italian citizen, as the minister of infrastructure and
transport, and as a European citizen, I would be shocked at the
inhumanity of Malta if it did not receive the ship.
"Malta is currently the nearest and safest port".
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said Thursday that the
Lifeline should go to the Netherlands.
The Netherlands denied reports that the Lifeline and another
NGO-run migrant-rescue ship, the Seefuchs, are sailing under
Dutch flags.
However, on Friday Mission Lifeline said in a tweet that its
ship has been registered in the Netherlands since September
2017, attaching a photograph of a registration document.
It also said Thursday's rescue operation took place in
international waters.
Salvini said for "the safety of the crew and passengers"
Italy had asked Malta to open its ports.
"It is clear that the ship will then have to be impounded and
the crew members arrested. No more trafficking by sea," he
added.
Salvini, who is also deputy premier and League leader, has
spearheaded the tough stance on migrants and NGOs operating
humanitarian missions in the Mediterranean of the new
League/5-Star Movement (M5S) government.

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