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Offbeat Italy to seize NGO ships amid migrant row

03:50  22 june  2018
03:50  22 june  2018 Source:   bbc.com

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Image caption The two ships work for the German NGO Mission Lifeline. Italy has attacked Malta for refusing He said Italy would seize both the Lifeline and the Seefuchs to determine their legal status, and The planned seizure of the Lifeline and Seefuchs comes amid a deepening row over migrant

Lifeline ship carrying migrants in the Mediterranean: The two ships work for the German NGO Mission Lifeline © EPA The two ships work for the German NGO Mission Lifeline Italy said it will seize two migrant rescue ships in the Mediterranean, amid a deepening row over migrants.

Two German NGO ships carrying migrants "will be seized" to determine their legal status.

Chart showing the country of origin for migrants arriving in Italy in a period in 2017 compared to 2018 © BBC Chart showing the country of origin for migrants arriving in Italy in a period in 2017 compared to 2018

The move comes as French President Emmanuel Macron attacked the "leprosy" of anti-EU feeling, angering Italy's new populist government.

Italy sparked the fresh row earlier this month when it refused to take in the Aquarius rescue ship.

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Italy says it will seize two migrant rescue ships in the Mediterranean, amid a deepening row over migrants . Two German NGO ships carrying migrants "will be Leaders from the 10 EU member states will meet in Brussels on Sunday to discuss how best to stem the flow of migrants into the bloc.

Two German NGO ships carrying migrants "will be seized " to determine their legal status. The move comes as French President Emmanuel Macron attacked the "leprosy" of anti-EU feeling, angering Italy 's new populist government. Italy sparked the fresh row earlier this month when it refused to take

Carrying 630 migrants rescued off the North African coast, the ship eventually sailed to Spain after being turned away by both Italy and Malta.

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Leaders from 10 EU member states will meet in Brussels on Sunday to discuss how best to stem the flow of migrants to the bloc.

The Italian government earlier said it will not sign up to any EU plan unless it makes helping Italy a priority, while Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary - known as the Visegrad Group - said they will boycott the talks.

The UN refugee agency on Thursday said it was "shocked and saddened" by the recent drowning of 220 people off the coast of Libya, and called for urgent action.

Relations will be further strained after President Macron's comments.

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Italy is to seize two ships from migrant rescue charity Mission Lifeline for allegedly breaking the law, which the NGO vehemently denies.… READ MORE : http

Italy said on Thursday that it would seize two rescue migrant ships , one of which is stranded in the Mediterranean carrying over 200 migrants , adding that they were "illegally" The Italian coast guard ship Diciotti, which brought hundreds of people to Italy earlier this week. Photo: Giovanni Isolino/AFP.

In a speech in Brittany, Mr Macron said anti-EU feeling was rising "a bit like a leprosy all across Europe", including in "neighbouring countries" - without specifically naming any one nation.

"They're saying the worst things, and we're getting used to it," he said.

Deputy Italian prime minister and leader of the populist Five Star movement Luigi Di Maio tweeted in Italian that Mr Macron's words were "offensive and misplaced", saying that "true leprosy" is when countries turn back migrants and then "preach to us" about calls for them to redistributed to other EU states.

Why is Italy seizing the ships?

The two ships, Lifeline and Seesuchs, belong to the German body Mission Lifeline.

According to the NGO, Lifeline rescued 224 migrants off the coast of Libya on Thursday morning.

Italy's interior minister and leader of the right-wing League party, Matteo Salvini, said on Facebook the ship should "go to Holland", as it was said to be flying under a Dutch flag, and should not dock in Italy.

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Italy says it will seize two migrant rescue ships in the Mediterranean, citing doubts over their legal status. Italian authorities said the Lifeline and Seefuchs, operated by the German migrant rescue group Mission Lifeline, were "illegally" flying the Dutch flag." Later in the day, the Italian authorities

Italy said on Thursday said it would seize and impound the migrant rescue ship Lifeline, which is carrying 226 migrants . The ship , operated by German NGO Mission Lifeline and flying a Dutch flag, requested the right to enter an Italian port after picking up migrants from two rubber boats in

However, the Dutch delegation to the EU later clarified in a tweet that the ships are not registered in the Netherlands, and not flying under its flag.

Italy's Infrastructure Minister Danilo Toninelli later said the ship broke the law by taking the migrants even though the Libyan coastguard had already intervened.

He said Italy would seize both the Lifeline and the Seesuchs to determine their legal status, and said Italy would "once again save the migrants".

Mission Lifeline later posted an image on Twitter of a registration document they say proves the ships sail under the Dutch flag.

Why the tough words from Italy?

Italy's new coalition government wants to deport half a million undocumented migrants, many of whom are housed in squalid reception centres. More than 600,000 have reached Italy from Libya in the past four years.

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Italy is to seize two ships from migrant rescue charity Mission Lifeline for allegedly breaking the law, which the NGO vehemently denies. “We are strictly within international rules and international law so we cannot understand what the Italian government is doing,” Mission Lifeline co-founder, Axel Steier

The NGOs accuse the Libyan coastguard of treating migrants harshly, and have condemned the practice of keeping them in unhygienic, overcrowded holding Italy 's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini is campaigning to stop charity ships operating off the Libyan coast, where they have been rescuing

Speaking on Italy's Rai national TV, Mr Salvini said it was "unacceptable" to be told "we will help you in one or two years, while you keep those who arrive and we will send you others".

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte says measures to curb the flow of migrants to Italy from North Africa are the priority - not transfers of migrants from one EU country to another.

Among them are refugees from the war in Syria or other conflicts, who generally have a right to asylum.

Why doesn't the EU stop the boats coming?

Italian warships are spearheading Operation Sophia, an EU anti-smuggler mission patrolling a vast area off the Libyan coast.

The EU has stepped up co-operation with the Libyan coastguard to intercept migrant boats. But people-smuggling gangs have flourished in Libya's chaos, charging desperate migrants thousands of dollars per head.

The EU Commission has proposed "regional disembarkation platforms" in North Africa, where the UN and other agencies could screen those who have a genuine claim to asylum in Europe. Those not eligible would be offered help to resettle in their home countries.

But processing centres outside the EU must not become a "Guantanamo Bay" for migrants, EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos warned.

The EU also aims to increase its Frontex border guard force to 10,000 staff by the end of 2020.

The EU's controversial Dublin Regulation states that an asylum seeker's claim should usually be handled by the country where she or he first arrives.

The regulation - currently under review - enables EU countries to deport asylum seekers to the country where they first landed. Italy and Greece object to that policy, saying they are shouldering an unfair burden.

Malta says it will allow migrant rescue ship with 230 on board to dock in its ports .
<p>The German humanitarian ship Lifeline, which has been carrying about 230 rescued refugees on board for almost a week, will enter a Maltese port.</p><p></p>The German humanitarian ship Lifeline, which has been carrying about 230 rescued refugees on board for almost a week, will enter a Maltese port later Wednesday.

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