Flying the Italian flag, 'Alex' landed in the Lampedusa port where members of the national police were waiting. After a difficult two days of awaiting permission to enter the dock, the Alex crew was able to dock, but on arrival, sailors, migrants, asylum-seekers refused to disembark and surrender to police.
The ship declared itself in a state of emergency Saturday morning due to the “intolerable hygiene conditions aboard,” the charitable organization and sponsor of the Alex, Mediterranea, tweeted.
After 13 migrants were left in Lampedusa Friday, Salvini requested the Alex take its 41 refugees to Valetta, the capital of Malta. The Mediterranea insisted the journey would be too arduous, the ship would likely be seized, and conditions onboard made it “impossible to face 15 hours of sailing,” spokeswoman Alessandra Sciurba said.
Last month, Salvini threatened NGO’s that save refugees in Mediterranean waters and try to bring them to Italian 'terra' with harsh fines of up to €50,000 (US$56,130) and permanent impoundment if captains, owners or maritime pilots “enter Italian territorial waters without authorization.”
The German government implored it’s Italian counterparts to reopen the ports, Salvini said.
"No, no, no, absolutely not … Law enforcement forces are ready to intervene. ... In a normal country there would be immediate arrests and the boat would be impounded,” claimed the dual minister, asking if charity employees — or the “jackels,” as he called them — would go unpunished.
The case of German captain of a migrant rescue ship, Carola Rackete, was the first to make headlines around the world when she defied the legislation and entered the Lampedusa port June 29, hitting a police patrol boat while bringing some 41 African migrants to shore.
She was arrested, but has since been released from house arrest and has announced her plans to sue Salvini for defamation, her attorney said Friday.
Salvini has repeatedly denounced Rackete, calling her a “pirate” and an “outlaw,” and promising to expel her from Italy.