Italian authorities seizes charity rescue vessel
Italian authorities confiscated a boat run by a German NGO that rescued more than 200 people stranded at sea last month because it failed to comply with safety regulations, the Coast Guard said on Thursday.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Italy banned migrant rescue ships from docking in its ports until 31 July. Now it is moving all those saved at sea to huge ferries that will wait off its coast.
Sea-Watch 3 had moored in the southern Italian port of Porto Empedocle, operated by German non-governmental organization Sea-Watch eV.
The mostly African passengers were transferred to the Moby Zaza Italian ferry where 28 positively checked for the latest coronavirus.
The Coast Guard said in a statement posted on Twitter that an inspection had found a number of irregularities that endangered the safety of those on board, and the shop needed to correct the irregularities before resuming operations.
Official data show that Africa was less seriously affected by COVID-19 than many other parts of the world, but in June, the health authorities in Libya announced a increase in cases and blamed the repatriation of foreign nationals.
Migrant arrivals in Italy fell in 2019 following a crackdown against smugglers in Libya, but this year they have picked up again, with 6,195 landings to date, compared to 2,445 in the same period in 2019.
Maritime Business World