The Mediterranean Open Arms migrant rescue vessel has firmly rejected an offer of a safe port in Spain, explaining that the six day journey to Algeciras would be too risky for the passengers, whose moods have been already critical.
Today, ignoring the maritime border, some of 107 migrants have been jumping off the vessel and attempting to swim towards Lampedusa in refusal to respect the concept of border as such, demonstrating their determination to enter Italy. The NGO Open Arms has been flexing mussels, signaling to Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, that his orders don’t mean anything to them, while international players, supporting illegal migration are more powerful than a sovereign state.
In his turn Salvini has used social media to expose the Spanish offer to point out it was made to cast him as a “racist”. He accused those 27 migrants who were allowed to disembark on humanitarian grounds of lying about their age and their illnesses.
“They told me from Lampedusa that out of the 27 immigrants for whom the landing was ordered are minors, 8 have already declared themselves older! We will see others …
After the “imaginary sick”, here are the “imaginary minors”!
While others give in, I don’t change my mind.” Salvini wrote.
“We do not accept Spain as a port to go because we are in a state of extreme humanitarian emergency. What they need is to be disembarked now,” Open Arms NGO spokesperson said.
The migrants, most of whom are from Sub-Saharan Africa, were collected off the coast of Libya by the Open Arms NGO vessel navigating under Spanish flag, , transported upon their own initiative to Italy, and from the moment of arrival to Lampedusa island. they have been waiting for the permission to disembark.
Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has agreed to let ashore 27 migrants from Mediterranean NGO rescue ship Open Arms, all of them claim that they are “unaccompanied teenagers”.
Those who claim they are minors were allowed to disembark on the Italian island of Lampedusa after more than sixteen days at sea, and considerable international pressure, however so far only six EU state expressed readiness to welcome some of the passengers on the vessel navigating under Spanish flag.
At present there are more than 500 million Africans without birth certificate or/and passport, according to the World Bank, subsequently their age can be estimated only approximately through medical tests in cases it is requested by prosecution. Among those without birth certificate 494 million are in sub-Saharan Africa.
Reportedly more than 100 migrants remain on board the Spanish rescue ship Open Arms, and the NGO insists on Lampedusa (Italy) landing.
The Spanish ship Open Arms has been stranded off Italy‘s island of Lampedusa for eight days because none of the EU governments is willing to accept any number of migrants from the group of the 121 passengers navigated from Libyan coasts.
The Hollywood star Richard Gere helped to bring food and supplies to the boat and asked for support for the migrants and NGO, whose passengers include nine-month-old Ethiopian twins.
“Everyone is doing okay now,” Gere said in a video published by Open Arms.
The rescue ship has been waiting for eight days for any EU government to welcome migrants. However not everybody is convinced by migrants drama: “Richard Gere on the Open Arms? I hope you get a tan and that you feel good … Since the ship is an NGO that flies the Spanish flag, they can disembark the 120 immigrants in Ibiza or Formentera, right?” wrote Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.
The 70 years old asylum legislation, created after the WWII, has not been adapted after the collapse of the colonialism. It is worth mentioning that the key documents – the Geneva Refugée Convention (1951)and its 1967 Protocol, were concluded still in colonial context, while Ghana (formerly the Gold Coast) became the first sub-Saharan African country to gain its independence from European colonization in 1957. At times of endorsement of Geneva Convention, it was beyond imagination that the legislation would be used to enhance flows of illegal migration from African continent to Europe.
A vessel run by Italian NGO Alex Mediterranea has ignored an order to stay out of Lampedusa port, navigating to dock on the island after transporting 41 migrants from Libyan coast.
The migrants transported from Libyan coast seeking asylum are received be relevant services, while the captain and crew have been put under investigation for alleged involvement in trafficking of illegal migrants, interior ministry sources said.
Another transporting migrants NGO vessel that was engaged in an argument with the Italian authorities, the ‘Alan Kurdi‘, has changed destination and is navigating to Malta with 65 migrants on board, ANSA news agency reports.
The ‘Alan Kurdi‘ vessel run by NGO migrant rescue picked up 65 migrants off
Libya coast. The German NGO Sea-Eye said they would also ignore the refusal of Italy to land, and navigated to Lampedusa, where they wish to drop anchor and land passengers. It is the second boat this week, which ignores the orders of Interior Minister Matteo Salvini to stay away from Italian ports.
There is also a woman reporter aboard reporting on the sea-rescue operation.
Italian Interior minister Matteo Salvini said the Sea-Eye can choose between Tunisia and Germany.
“Anyone who defends the borders and security of my country is welcome,” he said.
He added that the previous NGO boat transporting migrants – Meditrannea Alex – with 54 migrants on board, was recommended to go to Malta, however later on it became clear that the captain of the vessel disobeyed and navigated to Lampedusa, ignoring Salvini‘s ban to enter Italy’s ports.
“They are back to coasts of Libya: this encourages departures and the risk of shipwrecks and makes the smugglers happy. These are the NGOs. We will not be intimidated, we will not bow to blackmail, we will defend Italy” Salivin wrote in his Twitter micro blog.
The Italian NGO Mediterranea‘s Alex migrant rescue vessel carrying 54 people picked up in Libya waters on July 4 has been stopped off Lampedusa according to a landing ban issued by Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, ANSA news agency sources said on July 5.
“The vessel of the NGO, which by this time would have arrived in Malta that had given the availability of a safe harbor, breaks the law, ignores the prohibitions and enters Italian waters” Salvini wrote in his Twitter micro blog.
Salvini said the NGO vessel should navigate to Malta or elsewhere, in case it instists on entering Italian waters it would be regarded as an “act of violation“.
Malta offered a port to the ship but the Mediterranea at first said this was “unfeasible“, because of the state of the passengers exhausted by the trip.
The NGO underlined that because the physical and psychological conditions of the migrants the instructions of Interior minister were impossible to fulfill.
However, Alessandra Sciurba, spokesman of Mediterranea Saving Humans, later communicated that the vessel was ready to transport the migrants at Malta.
It was reported that a Maltese navy ship was send for the Mediterranea to receive the migrants, but the NGO said that they did not have any information about this maneuver.
The Italian navy later offered to transport the Alex‘s migrants to Malta.
The Maltese government said Italy would take 55 migrants in exchange for the 54 migrants Malta would take from the Mediterranea.
Deputy Premier Luigi Di Maio said it was right that the ship should go to Malta; the NGOs that used sailboats like the Mediterranea were “reckless”, he added.
Carola Rackete, the captain of the Sea-Watch 3 migrant-rescue ship, has been put under investigation by prosecutors in the Sicilian city of Agrigento, Italian media reports.
The vessel is currently anchored in front of the port of Lampedusa after capitan Rackete defied an order to stay out off Italian waters on June 26. The migrants were collected by the crew off Libya coasts over two weeks ago.
German national, Rackete (31) is being probed for allegedly dealings with illegal immigration when refusing to obey a military vessel, the Italian sources said.
Prime minister Giuseppe Conte said that several EU States have agreed to take some of the around 40 migrants on board the Sea-Watch 3 to resolve the situation of the NGO vessel passengers.
“Three or four countries are willing to take part in the redistribution of the Sea-Watch migrants,“ Conte said to reporters at the G20 summit in Japan. Foreign ministry sources informed four EU countries expressed readiness to take some of the Sea-Watch migrants, including France, Germany, Luxembourg and Portugal.
On the sidelines of the G20 Conte had a meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte about the Sea-Watch case.
The vessel is managed but a German NGO but it navigates under Dutch flag and Italian authorities insist the Netherlands should assume the responsibility. This week the Italian Embassy in The Hague took a formal step about a possible dereliction of duty by the Dutch authorities.