More than 100 migrants from the container ship ‘Alexander Maersk’ arrived in the southern port of Pozzallo in Sicily on Tuesday, June 26. The mayor of Pozzallo welcomed the Italian interior minister’s decision to let the ship dock.
The container ship ‘Alexander Maersk’ picked up 113 migrants from a boat off south Italy, on Friday June 22. The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre asked the vessel to to change its course on Thursday, in order to pick up the migrants on Friday morning.
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As Reuters reported, Italy has closed its ports to ships operated by charities in the Mediterranean, as it supports that the EU is responsible for disembarking migrants rescued at sea.
‘Alexander Maersk’ had been waiting to be assigned a port since the end of last week, and since then it remained off the coast of Sicily.
An Italian doctor at the port, Vincenzo Morello, examined the people and said that they are generally good in their health. However, many are exhausted, there were some cases of dermatitis and someone had been operated on for spine problems.
ECSA had previously expressed its concerns about the problems that a vessel with migrants faced to disembark them in Malta and Italy. Namely, it had warned that merchant vessels could also face the same problems, and the ‘Alexander Maersk’ is a sign of that.
Crewmembers on merchant vessels are not trained to conduct large scale rescue operations nor are merchant vessels equipped to have migrants on board for a long period of time.
ECSA also repeated the necessity for merchant vessels to be able to disembark migrants at a European port as soon as possible, and urged European authorities to take all the necessary steps to guarantee this.
Last week, after refusing to accept 226 migrants onboard a German charity rescue ship, Italy now seems to relent, saying it would take them in, but would impound the vessel, Reuters said.
Interior minister, Matteo Salvini, initially said the Dutch-flagged ship Lifeline should take the people from the Mediterranean to the Netherlands and not Italy. However, transport minister, Danilo Toninelli, later said it was unsafe for the 32-meter vessel to travel such a great distance with so many people onboard.