Matteo Salvini on Thursday, March 28, urged Berlin to take responsibility for 64 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean by a German charity boat and heading toward the Italian coast in rough seas, Reuters reports.
The interior minister and deputy prime minister closed all Italian ports, to humanitarian vessels, in light of illegal immigration since his League party formed a coalition last year with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement.
Salvini stated to reporters in Paris that
I asked the German interior minister to intervene over a ship that says it is German, and to fix this issue.
Salvini was talking about the ‘Alan Kurdi’ vessel, which is ran by the German charity Sea-Eye. The latter rescued the migrants off Libya, including 12 women, an 11-month-old girl and a 6-year-old boy.
The rescue vessel is now sailing towards the small Italian vessel of Lampedusa.
In the meantime, the Sea-Eye reported that they are in talks with Germany to find a solution, and are now heading to Lampedusa to avoid the bad weather conditions in Malta.
Also, the Italian Foreign Ministry wrote to the German embassy in Rome denying the vessel’s entrance in Italian waters.
New arrivals to Italy have plummeted since Salvini took office in June, with just 532 migrants coming so far this year, according to official data, down 92% on the same period in 2018 and down 98% on 2017.