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Italian migrants: Rescue ship reaches Lampedusa despite warnings



  Italian authorities send a boat to intercept the German rescue vessel

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Reuters

Caption

Italian authorities have sent a boat to the rescue vessel Sea-Watch 3 off the coast of Lampedusa

A boat carrying migrants rescued in the Mediterranean has reached the Italian island of Lampedusa, although Italy warns that it should stay out of its territorial waters.

The boat's captain said police officers had boarded. She said the migrants are "desperate".

"I know this is risky, but [the migrants] is exhausted and I will bring it to safety," Carola Rackete said.

However, Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said they should not disembark.

"Immigration can not be managed by illegal ships," Salvini said in a post on Facebook (in Italian).

"You can not moor, I'm ready to send the police."

He also said that he had lodged a diplomatic protest with the Netherlands, as the ship is registered there.

The ship, the Sea-Watch 3 had spent 1

4 days sailing off the coast of Italy's southernmost island.

The Italian authorities had previously warned that they would be fined or confiscated.

  • Italy closes immigration camps and tightened the maritime regime
  • Who is responsible for immigrants at sea?

The head of the German charity Sea-Watch, Johannes Bayer, said Capt Rackete had no choice but to set out Lampedusa after rescuing dozens of people from a "rubber boat" on June 12th.

"We are entering Italian waters as there are no other options to ensure the safety of our guests whose fundamental rights have been violated long enough." he said.

The charity accuses European institutions of failing to fulfill their responsibility for rescuing people rescued at sea.

In January, the Sea-Watch 3 spent nearly two weeks in limbo after rescuing Mediterranean migrants before finally being allowed to dock on the southern Italian island of Sicily.

Media playback is not supported on your device.

Media Title The crew of Sea-Watch 3 claimed to have been detained as a "hostage".

The permit was issued after the Six countries – France, Germany, Malta, Portugal, Romania and Luxembourg – agreed to accept the migrants.

The crew of the boat later claimed to have felt "hostage".

In recent weeks, more than 400 migrants have come to Italy with small boats, according to news agency AFP.


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