Charity says Mediterranean rescue mission in Italy blocked after ship seizure


In a press release on Sunday, the organization called for the “rapid release” of its search and rescue vessel “Geo Barents”, which was detained by authorities on administrative grounds in the port of Augusta, Sicily, on July 2.

According to the Italian Coast Guard, the seizure was the result of “periodic inspections” required of foreign ships docking in Italian ports, which “exposed various technical irregularities that could compromise the safety of the crew and people on board.”

The Coast Guard statement said that the ship did not have enough life-saving equipment such as rafts and life belts. During the 14-hour inspection of the vessel, the authorities found a total of 22 issues – 10 of which were grounds for detaining the ship, it also said.

MSF has said it is “ready to make all necessary adjustments.” However, MSF’s search and rescue representative, Duccio Staderini, also claimed that the inspection of NGO ships in Italian ports “is lengthy and thorough, aimed at finding irregularities that prevented the ship from returning to sea to save lives.” Can go

“We are facing a crushing reality: while humanitarian NGO ships are detained, lives in the Mediterranean are inexplicably lost,” he said.

The UNHCR said Italy has borne the brunt of migrants landing on European shores, with more than 10,400 arrivals in the country in 2021.

A United Nations report received in May The EU was partly to blame Libya to the deaths of migrants crossing the Mediterranean due to unanswered distress calls, hampering humanitarian rescue efforts, and so-called “pushback”.
So far this year, at least 500 people are reported to have died trying to cross the dangerous sea along the central Mediterranean route. united nations refugee agency Said in May. This is a sharp increase over the same period last year, where there were 150 recorded deaths – a 200% increase.

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