Sabato, 22 Settembre 2018
ROME

Lifeline 'in compliance with international law,' NGO says

English
© ANSA

Rome, June 22 - The German NGO Mission Lifeline
fought off attacks by the Italian authorities on Friday,
insisting its ship carrying 224 migrants rescued off the Libyan
coast is operating in full compliance with international law.
"Right now we are half way between Libya and Malta, the
situation is calm, the migrants on board have been given
blankets and food and received medical assistance from our
doctors and nurses," spokesperson Axel Steier told Radio Capital
in response to calls from Italy's Interior Minister Matteo
Salvini for the crew to be arrested, accusing them of being
"pirates".
"There is no one with serious injuries. We hope the situation
is resolved soon," Steier added in reference to uncertainty over
where the ship will dock.
The boat found itself at the centres of new controversy on
Thursday after Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli accused it of
"operating in Libyan waters outside all rules, outside
international law" amid confusion over where the ship was
actually registered.
On Thursday the Netherlands denied reports 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.
However on Friday Mission Lifeline confirmed in a tweet that
its ship has been registered in the Netherlands since September
2017, attaching a photograph of the registration document to
show it.
It also said Thursday's rescue operation took place in
international waters.
Meanwhile 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.
However, La Valletta immediately denied having received a
formal request from Italy to allow the ship to dock.
Salvini has spearheaded the tough stance on migrants and NGOs
operating humanitarian missions in the Mediterranean 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.

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