Italian authorities said on Wednesday they had impounded a ship involved in migrant rescue operations in the central Mediterranean Sea, citing safety procedure irregularities.
Under Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s right-wing government, installed last year, Italy has taken a tougher stance towards migrant rescue NGOs, accusing them of facilitating the work of people traffickers.
The Ocean Viking ship was seized while docked in the port of Civitavecchia, northwest of Rome on the Mediterranean coast.
“In particular, some of the crew did not possess the necessary licenses to handle the life-saving equipment aboard,” Italy’s coast guard said in a statement.
The Ocean Viking is operated by the SOS Mediterranee NGO, which was established in 2015.
“After a 7h Port State Control inspection in Civitavecchia yesterday, #OceanViking has been detained by Italian authorities,” the charity tweeted, adding that it was working with the involved parties “to lift the detention as soon as possible”.
(Reuters – Reporting by Angelo Amante and Federico Maccioni; editing by Mark Heinrich)
Published at Fri, 14 Jul 2023 20:53:52 +0000