The authorities prevented the humanitarian rescue ship "Geo Barents" from docking in Italian territory for longer than necessary to provide assistance and rescue operations.
"We filed with the Administrative Court of Lazio an appeal against the interministerial decree that was notified to Geo Barents on Nov. 5, 2022. This is not acceptable. Geo Barents has always acted in accordance with international maritime law," the MSF said.
"We denounce the illegitimate and discriminatory selection of survivors, which violates international law on rescue at sea and seeks to disembark only castaways considered 'vulnerable'," it added.
�� A more human approach to search and rescue in the #CentralMed. Behind numbers, there are people from war-torn countries, where human rights are violated and poverty is at its worst. We save the lives of people in distress at sea because #EU migration policies continue to kill. https://t.co/4IvsgxhTHl
The decree was promoted by Vice President Matteo Salvini, who has backed the "Closed Ports" policy for years. By doing so, this far-right politician has sought to prevent the landing of African migrants who have been rescued in the Mediterranean Sea.
Following this policy, the Italian authorities usually only allow the disembarkation of immigrants who require urgent medical attention. The rest of them must remain on the rescue ship, which is usually later sent to navigate in international waters.
On Nov. 5, the Geo Barents docked at the Sicilian port of Catania with 572 immigrants from countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, and Syria. Only 297 women, minors, and sick people were initially able to disembark.
After three days, the authorities allowed the rest of the migrants to disembark as an outbreak of scabies had broken out and many of them were experiencing panic attacks and other mental problems.