Italian authorities arrest humanitarian rescue boat captain after docking

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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]

This entry was posted in , by Grant Montgomery.

One thought on “Italian authorities arrest humanitarian rescue boat captain after docking

  1. Grant Montgomery on said:

    Update: Carola Rackete, the captain of a humanitarian rescue vessel which defied Italian orders, was released after three days’ detention. A judge in Sicily pushed back against Italy’s hard-line response to the case, lifting Rackete’s house-arrest orders and indicating that she saw no grounds for the charges. Rackete, Judge Alessandra Vella wrote, had been “saving shipwrecked individuals at sea” and “fulfilling a duty.” Rackete, who has become an emblem of resistance against Europe’s closed-door stance toward migrants, still faces legal jeopardy, and she will be questioned next week in a separate inquiry into whether she aided illegal immigration, according to Italian news outlets. But Vella’s ruling dealt a blow to the Italian government’s broader effort to limit migration by punishing rescuers who bring their boats to shore against orders.

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