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.