Italy on Saturday arrested the captain of a humanitarian rescue vessel and seized the boat after it had forced its way to a dock with 40 migrants aboard.
On Twitter, Italy’s interior minister, Matteo Salvini, said that the “pirate” commander had been arrested and that the migrants would be distributed across other countries in Europe, though he did not name them.
The early morning events brought a tense resolution to a weeks-long standoff in the Mediterranean–one in which a German humanitarian group rescued the migrants and found itself closed off from European ports with nowhere to go.
Over the last year, since Italy closed its ports to charity vessels as part of its hard-line stance against migration, Europe has struggled to manage even the fairly limited flow of newcomers. Time and time again, boats that have rescued migrants have found themselves in limbo for days or weeks in the Mediterranean.
[The Washington Post]