Italy Confiscates Migrant Rescue Vessel Ocean Viking

Italian authorities have ordered the Ocean Viking migrant rescue vessel to be at a port close to Rome after it failed an examination, the charity owning it mentioned on Thursday.

The vessel underwent a seven-hour scrutiny on Tuesday by the coast guard at the port of Civitavecchia, north of Italy’s capital, on disembarking the 57 migrants it had successfully rescued in the Mediterranean. SOS Mediterranee mentioned that it was then put under administrative detention for an indefinite phase after some small administrative and technical problems were observed.

Credit: @SOSMedFrance/ Twitter

The coast guard, however, did not respond to AFP’s request for further information.

Francesco Creazzo, the press officer of SOS Mediterranee, said that the issue was raised by the Italian coast guard related to the number of specialized operators and lifeboats on board. The Ocean Viking has undergone seven examinations by the coast guard over the past three years, per Creazzo.

Italy’s hard-right government, which came to power in October last year, has taken several measures to restrict ship activities, particularly of the vessels operated by non-governmental organizations dedicated to rescuing migrants who are in trouble on the crossing from North Africa.

In February 2023, parliament approved a government decree that limited charity vessels to one sea rescue at a time, needing them to dock at a port assigned by authorities following every recovery.

The NGOs have to say that this amounts to compelling the vessels to ignore other kinds of emergencies on the water after a rescue and sending them to a distant port instead of the relatively closer ones.

Reference: Times of Malta, New Indian Express, Barrons

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