Italy seizes German NGO ship for flouting safety regulations
ROME (ITALY) – Italian Coast Guard said on Thursday that they have seized a vessel operated by a German NGO that rescued more than 200 people stranded at sea last month for failing to comply with safety rules.
In April, Italy banned ships rescuing migrants from docking at its ports until July 31 because of the pandemic. It now transfers people stranded at sea to large ferries that are moored off the coast.
Sea-Watch 3, which is operated by German NGO Sea-Watch e.V., had moored in the southern Italian port of Porto Empedocle.
After the African passengers were shifted to Italian ferry Moby Zaza, 28 of them tested positive.
In a statement, the authorities said during an inspection, a number of irregularities were noticed and they threatened the safety of those on board the vessel. They also said the irregularities need to be fixed before the ship can resume operations.
Although official data suggests Africa is less badly affected by the virus than many other parts of the world, health officials in Libya reported a surge in infections in June and put the blame on repatriation of nationals from foreign countries.
Following the crack down on people smugglers in Libya, the number of arrivals in Italy saw a sharp dip in 2019. But this year, it again picked up with 6,195 landings to date, compared to 2,445 in the same period last year.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field