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Rescue charities say new Italian rules will cause migrant deaths

It has recently introduced harsh anti-immigration measures. The measures were condemned by sea rescue organisations, who claim that they will cause more deaths in the Mediterranean.

Last week, the was implemented. The law states that charity ships must apply for port permission before they can sail to it “without delay” after a rescue. Instead of searching for other migrants boats at sea, as is currently the situation.

Ship captains who break the rules could be subject to fines of up to EUR50,000 ($52760) or their boats could be impounded.

A group of 17 nongovernmental organizations issued a joint statement to express their “gravest concern” about Prime Minister Giorgia Malta’s conservative coalition law. The coalition was elected to power in 2013 and pledged to decrease migrant flows to Italy.


It claimed that Italy wanted to reduce the time that rescue vessels can spend on search and rescue (SAR). This refers to a new practice where boats were instructed to ferry migrants from the ocean to distant ports.

The statement states that “NGOs are already stretched because of the absence of a state-run SAR operation.” Invariably, the decreased number of rescue boats will lead to more tragic deaths at sea.

Sea-Eye and Doctors Without Borders were also signatories.


According to the interior ministry data, around 105.140 migrants arrived in Italy between 2022 and 2023. This compares to 67,477 in 2020 and 34,154 in 2020. The United Nations estimates that nearly 1,400 migrants were killed crossing the central Mediterranean in 2022.

According to the NGO statement Italy was requested to cancel the decree in order to cooperate with the rest of the European Union to support rescue operations, and prevent the deaths and disappearances of migrants.

Meloni supported the new rules and accused the charities of being in the hands of human traffickers. They claim that they provide a taxi service for people who don’t have visas to enter Europe.

You must rescue a boat in danger if you see it. In an Instagram video, she said that they shouldn’t be allowed to remain onboard, and then continue multiple rescues until they are exhausted.

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