Milan: A German-flagged charity vessel refused to leave the Sicilian port of Catania on Sunday after Italian authorities said not all the migrants it was carrying could disembark, the NGO liable for the vessel said. “The captain of the Humanity 1, who is legally responsible for the safety of all people on board, has refused the request to leave the port with the remaining 35 survivors on board,” the German NGO said.
Earlier on Sunday, Rome said minors and people in need of emergency medical care, in total 144 of 179 passengers, could land from Humanity 1, which had been allowed to dock in Catania. Humanity 1 and two other vessels – carrying almost 1,000 migrants – had been at sea off Italy for more than a week awaiting permission to dock from the country’s right-wing government that took office last month.
On Friday, Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi said Humanity 1 and its remaining passengers would be sent out of regional waters once those permitted to had landed. The German NGO said that 35 migrants left onboard were in poor health and had fled inhuman conditions in Libya.
As in the case of Humanity 1, the Italian government has issued a declaration to permit the Geo Barents to the dock just to land people in urgent need of emergency assistance, government sources said on Sunday.
“Selective and partial disembark, as proposed by the Italian authorities, is not to be considered legal under maritime law conventions,” said international NGO Medicins sans Frontieres, which runs Geo Barents ship.