Italy assigns a safe port of more than 1,000 kilometers to the ‘Geo Barents’ and the ‘Ocean Viking’

Italy assigns a safe port of more than 1,000 kilometers to the 'Geo Barents' and the 'Ocean Viking'

8 Jan. () –

The Italian authorities have rejected the request of the rescue ships ‘Geo Barents’ and ‘Ocean Viking’ for the assignment of a nearby safe port after the rescue in the last few hours of more than a hundred migrants in the Mediterranean and have designated as The destination port of both ships is Ancona, more than 1,000 kilometers away.

Humanitarian organizations have warned that it is illegal not to assign the closest safe port to a ship that has carried out a rescue at sea and have also warned of an imminent worsening of conditions in the Mediterranean due to the proximity of a storm.

“Our request has been rejected. The Italian maritime authorities have confirmed Ancona as a safe port despite the danger posed by such a long journey due to the weather forecast,” explained the organization SOS Mediterranée, responsible for the ‘Ocean Viking’, through a message on Twitter. Ancona is located in the north of the Italian Adriatic coast, very far from the rescue zone.

“This order goes against the interests of the survivors, the laws of the sea and means leaving the central Mediterranean without NGO rescue ships,” the group denounced.

From Doctors Without Borders, responsible for the ‘Geo Barents’, they have mentioned the same arguments and have warned that sailing to Ancona would be “extremely difficult”. “It is not acceptable,” stressed the NGO, which recalls that it has also unsuccessfully requested Rome to transfer the rescued migrants to a Coast Guard ship.

“Sending two rescue ships simultaneously to a distant port demonstrates the authorities’ intention to reduce the time we spend in the rescue area,” MSF lamented.

The weather forecast for the next few days includes strong winds and waves that could reach five meters throughout the Mediterranean, which is why the government’s decision has been described as “spite” by media such as the newspaper ‘La Reppublica’.

The NGOs recall that the two ships are safe and undergo regular inspections, but they also warn that some of the 37 survivors rescued by the ‘Ocean Viking’ were soaked in gasoline, many of them with chemical burns, so they had to go through a storm it supposes “forcing them to gratuitous suffering”. Another 73 migrants were rescued by the ‘Geo Barents’.

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Written by Editor TLN

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