A general ban on landing for rescue ships with a foreign flag is justified by the coronavirus pandemic.
Italy no longer allows migrants rescued at sea to be brought to Italy by foreign-flagged ships. The government in Rome ordered this last week. The reason given is that Italy’s ports could no more than because of the coronavirus pandemic “safe place” be valid. Italy’s health and safety services are fully utilized due to the pandemic and the care of the sick. There was insufficient capacity to take care of migrants who were possibly infected with the coronavirus. Rescue ships are said to bring rescued migrants to other countries.
Specifically, the decision was to private German rescue ship “Alan Kurdi” to keep away from Italy. After a dramatic rescue, it waited a week for a landing permit in Italy or Malta with 150 rescued migrants on board. Four relief organizations – including Doctors Without Borders, who help care for coronavirus patients in Italy – emphasize in a joint statement that the pandemic should not be used as an excuse to prevent sea rescue and thus to eliminate international law.
On Sunday evening, however, the Italian authorities decided to send help to “Alan Kurdi” because the onward journey to Germany would be too exhausting in cramped conditions. The migrants should switch to another ship and their quarantine hold; after that, they can go ashore in Italy. So far, there is no evidence of an infection with the coronavirus on board, as the on-board doctor told the newspaper “La Repubblica” announced.
However, the ban on rescue ships flying a foreign flag has not been lifted. It applies analogously and has also long been the case for cruise ships. The aid organizations believe that tourism and sea rescue are equated “Obviously inappropriate”. Merchant ships without rescued migrants on board, in turn, are not affected by the new regulation, and Italy’s ports are still safe enough for them.
Tripoli harbor under attack
On the other side of the Mediterranean, last Thursday the Libyan authorities temporarily stopped the disembarkation of migrants who were picked up by the Libyan coast guard and brought back to Libya. The Libyan ports are because of ongoing Fighting insecure and could no longer accept migrants, Libyan officials said, according to the United Nations Agency for Migration (IOM).
A ship with 277 migrants on board was affected by the measure. Later it could land in the port of Tripoli. The migrants went ashore, where they were held in the port area. The port was shot at with grenades on Friday. In the confusion, about 70 migrants set off and away. The remaining 200 were in Prison camp brought in an official and an unofficial. The IOM explains that one is extremely concerned about the fate of these people because several inmates have already disappeared in such camps.
A rubber boat probably sank
In the past few days, four rubber boats with migrants on board Libya have set off for Italy, with around 250 to 280 people on board. Such boats are not seaworthy. It is feared that one sank on Sunday and all inmates drowned. Apart from the “Alan Kurdi” there is currently only one private rescue ship in the central Mediterranean, the “Aita Mari”. She recovered 47 people from a boat on Monday before Malta; six were passed out.