First migrant charity ship reaches Italy since pandemic

AFP - [email protected]
First migrant charity ship reaches Italy since pandemic
A migrant rescue boat. Photo: AFP

An Italian collective brought dozens of migrants to safety Saturday in the country's first such arrival by a charity rescue ship since the coronavirus pandemic eased.


The arrival of the Mare Ionio ship in Pozzallo, Sicily, on World Refugee Day, was hailed by human rights organisations who noted the unusual speed with which Italy assigned the Mediterranea charity group a port.

"For once, the international law obliging the offer of a safe port, in a short time, has been respected," the group's head Alessandra Sciurba said in a statement.

The Mare Ionio rescued 67 people Friday after their boat ran into difficulty some 40 nautical miles (70km) off Lampedusa. The group said the migrants had been without water for two days.

"For the first time for years, a 'place of safety' has been assigned in less than 24 hours. It should be automatic," Italian journalist and migrant specialist Nello Scavo tweeted.

Mediterranea called for a port of safety to be extended also to the crew and migrants aboard the German Sea Watch 3 vessel, which took onboard around 100 people off the coast of Libya earlier this week.



The Pozzallo arrival was the first by a charity vessel since April, when Rome said it was closing its ports owing to the coronavirus pandemic, which prompted a nationwide lockdown in March, IOM said.

The Italian group said it was patrolling the central Mediterranean because European governments were failing to fulfil their responsibility "to safeguard human lives".

The International Organization for Migration's spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo said at least 227 people had died while attempting the perilous crossing since the start of the year.

"It remains dangerous, with two shipwrecks last week and one today," he told AFP.

The last few days in particular in the central Mediterranean "have been some of the most frantic this year", Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on Twitter.

"At least 800 people tried to escape (from) Libya," MSF Sea said.



Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

[email protected] 2020/06/21 14:24
As usual, Luigi speaks the truth. You would have thought by now Lamorgese would have found a new husband and put an end to this invasion.
[email protected] 2020/06/20 14:35
Why not just create a free ferry service to Italy for that is what the EU wants. Let's stop pretending that these are 'humanitarian' rescues and admit these are deliberate and planned. As long as Italy and the EU continues to accept these people the flow will never stop. A warning to Italy - as the US has shown, even with only a 20% black population, the blacks are never happy. No one condones a rogue cop-killing any person, white, black, Asian, etc, but to suggest the US is racist is utter nonsense! On any given day there are millions of interactions in the US between people of all races and they are conducted with courtesy and civility. No other ethnic group has been given so much - over $4 TRILLION dollars in anti-poverty and affirmative action money in the last 40 years yet the blacks lag behind newly arrived Asians and Hispanics in almost every category and also commit 60% of the crime......go ahead Italy, you will rue the day you opened your doors to Africans and to a lesser extent Arabs.
[email protected] 2020/06/20 12:24
Oh, that's great news! Italy is the new Africa.

See Also