Rescue vessel still blocked from Italy's shores

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on August 16, 2019 - Duration: 00:58s

Rescue vessel still blocked from Italy's shores

A charity rescue ship carrying 134 migrants, mostly Africans, remained stranded off the coast of Italy on Friday as a political battle in Rome stopped it from docking and even the medical conditions of those on board were disputed.

Gavino Garay reports.


Rescue vessel still blocked from Italy's shores

It's been about two weeks, but 134 migrants, mostly Africans are still stuck aboard Spanish charity rescue ship "Open Arms" now anchored off Italy's southern Lampedusa island.

In defiance of his own prime minister, Italy's far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini is refusing to let them disembark, despite reports of illness on board and an agreement by six EU nations to take the migrants in.

Open Arms says says that under international agreements, rescued migrants must be taken to the closest available port, but Salvini says the vessel has a "political objective" in bringing the migrants to Italy.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has slammed Salvini as disloyal and called him quote "obsessed" with closing Italy's ports to migrants.

France, Germany, Romania, Portugal, Spain and Luxembourg have said they will help relocate the migrants, but still the ship remains offshore while the political fight on land continues.

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