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News > Italy

Sea-Watch Takes Action Against Blockade of Its Rescue Ship

  • The humanitarian vessel Sea-Watch in Palermo, Italy, Oct. 23, 2020.

    The humanitarian vessel Sea-Watch in Palermo, Italy, Oct. 23, 2020. | Photo: Sea Watch

Published 23 October 2020

The Sea-Watch 4 humanitarian vessel is held under an administrative blockade in Italy.

The German NGO Sea-Watch on Friday filed an appeal at the Palermo Administrative Court against the blockade of the Sea-Watch 4, a humanitarian vessel which has been detained in port since September.

RELATED: Italy: 1,200 Migrants Arrive on Lampedusa Island at the Weekend

On August 15, this humanitarian rescue ship, which is owned by Sea-Watch and Doctors Without Borders (MSF), set sail from Spain to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean.

Eleven days after carrying out its first rescue operation, Italy allowed the vessel to approach the port of Palermo to transfer 353 rescued people to a ferry. On Sep. 20, however, the Italian authorities immobilized the humanitarian ship in port after conducting an inspection.

"Under the pretext of security, the rescue of people is deliberately prevented with flimsy justifications. We must not get used to rescue ships being illegally blocked and Europe letting people drown as a deterrent," Sea-Watch Chairman Johannes Bayer said.

"Those who fight for human rights must do so at all levels. This is why we filed an appeal against the arbitrary blockade of Sea-Watch 4. We are not only morally right; our ships are safe and ready to rescue," he added.

Meanwhile, the humanitarian tragedy in the Mediterranean continues without the European Union (EU) countries offering lasting solutions for the management of migratory flows.

“States must finally fulfill their duty to rescue instead of imposing arbitrariness and harassment against civil sea rescue organizations in EU agreements,” the German NGO stressed.

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