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Italian ports are open – to close them is illegal

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Analysis. Rescue ships in similar situations in the future will still have to fear attacks from government officials and threats to close the ports. But under current law, such a move would be illegal.

written by Valentina Brinis, Luigi Manconi

Topic Refugees

March 21, 2019

Two days ago, the Italian ship Mare Jonio, belonging to the NGO Mediterranea Save Humans, rescued 50 people fleeing from Nigeria, Gambia, Cameroon, Guinea and Senegal. The ship reached the port of Lampedusa on Tuesday evening, where it started offloading the survivors. Afterwards, the Mare Jonio and its crew were sequestered and euphemistically ordered to “remain available to the authorities.”

The successful landing of the rescued migrants was a rather unexpected outcome, after the continuous bombastic pronouncements to the contrary by the two vice-prime ministers throughout the day. Interior Minister Salvini claimed that Italy’s ports “were and remain closed”; while Di Maio (God help him) sternly admonished that “an Italian NGO cannot dare to disobey the Libyan Coast Guard.”

The fact remains........

© Il Manifesto Global