Rome seizes 3 migrants rescue ships within two days
A “ship battle” erupts between the Italian government and humanitarian organizations

A ship war has erupted between the far-right Italian government and non-governmental organizations, which Rome accuses of violating new, controversial immigration legislation, by rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean Sea.

On Wednesday, August 23, the concerned non-governmental organizations announced that Rome had detained 3 rescue ships in the Mediterranean within 48 hours.

The Spanish non-governmental organization “Open Arms” said that it was fined 10,000 euros, and the ship bearing its name was seized on Tuesday, after ignoring the instructions of the Italian authorities not to carry out two rescue operations in the Mediterranean, according to the “InfoMigrants” website.

For its part, the German non-governmental organization “Sea-Eye” said that it had received an order to pay a fine of 3,000 euros and the seizure of its ship “Sea-Eye-4” after three rescue operations that allowed 114 people to be rescued.

Both ships violated a recently passed law requiring NGO ships to return to a port chosen by the Italian authorities after each rescue operation.

On Monday, the Aurora ship, belonging to the German non-governmental organization Sea Watch, was seized under another provision of this law for landing migrants at a port that the Italian authorities had not chosen.

The government of far-right Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni issued new legislation this year in an attempt to reduce the number of arrivals, even though NGO ships represent only a small portion of the total number of migrants arriving in Italy.

More than 105,000 migrants have arrived in Italy since the beginning of the year, more than twice as much compared to 2022 during the same period, according to Interior Ministry figures.

In addition, more than 2,000 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean since January, according to the United Nations.

Since coming to power in 2022, Giorgia Meloni’s far-right government, which includes anti-immigrant League leader Matteo Salvini as deputy prime minister, has stepped up measures to obstruct the activities of NGOs that help migrants.

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