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Italy demands countries take responsibility for migrant rescue boats

A row erupted over who should take care of migrants rescued from the Italian coast by charities groups on Friday (4/11), with Italy insisting that some responsibility be taken, while Norway disagreed.

Three charity vessels carrying almost 1,000 migrants have been waiting over a week at sea, off Italy, for permission from the new rightist government. They claim all of their requests were denied. They claim that two of them fly the Norwegian flag.

Last week, Italy sent letters to Norway and Germany informing them that ships operating non-governmental flags were violating European security regulations and undermining efforts against illegal immigration.

Norway replied that it could not intervene.


Ambassador Johan Vibe stated that Norway is not responsible under the Human Rights Conventions or the Law of Sea for any person who is taken aboard private Norwegian flagged vessels in the Mediterranean,” in an emailed statement to Reuters on Friday.

The German Embassy asked Italy to provide helpquickly on Wednesday. They said that NGO ships have made a significant contribution in saving lives at sea.

Matteo Piantedosi (the Italian interior minister) stated at a press conference, that the German-flagged Humanity 1 had more than 179 passengers, including more 100 minors and was heading towards Catania, Sicily.


He stated that the boat would be permitted to dock near the port and that Italy would take care of minors and people with health problems. All aboard the boat and their passengers would be removed from territorial waters.

Piantedosi stated that “We won’t forget humanitarian obligations…but, we want to keep the point regarding duties flag states.”

Petra Krischok, a German NGO press office, is aboard the vessel. According to her, the migrants are currently sleeping on the deck and could soon find themselves in rough seas due to the weather.

In an email, she stated that over 25% of the group had suffered from flu-like symptoms.


Two ships carrying the Norwegian flag are sailing off Sicily, with over 800 people aboard.

Norway told Italy that Norway is the one responsible for providing search and rescue assistance, when this has been done, and that it is the first to coordinate the work required to ensure safe ports for all seafarers in distress.

“Neighboring coast states also have responsibility for such matters,” the ambassador said.

Charity SOS Mediterranee, which operates the Ocean Viking, stated that it had reached out France, Spain and Greece for assistance as Italy and Malta have not responded.

Gerald Darmanin (French Interior Minister) informed RMC-BFMTV. He stated that Italy was required by international law to accept migrants. Paris and Berlin, however, are open to providing assistance.

He stated that he had informed his Italian friends and our German friends that they are willing to accept some of the children or women to ensure that Italy is not left to receive them.

According to government data, the number Italian migrants has increased by more 6200 in the last week compared to 1,400 in that same period in 2021.

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