The ship carrying 572 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean was allowed to dock in Catania on Sunday after days of waiting, where the Italian authorities reviewed the situation on board. According to media reports, women – including three pregnant women – and 50 unaccompanied minors and ten other minors with families were initially allowed ashore.
On Sunday, the authorities had already evacuated 144 of the 179 migrants who had landed in Catania on Saturday evening. After an inspection by the Italian authorities, all of the rescued, with the exception of 35 men, were allowed to go ashore, the German aid organization SOS Humanity said on Twitter. The captain of “Humanity 1”, Joachim Ebeling, refused to leave Catania with the 35 refugees on board, as required by the Italian government.
“We have to find a solution here. It would be against the law to take the survivors away, as my lawyer explained to me. It’s difficult to explain to them what’s happening and I can’t understand it myself because it’s against the law ” said the captain.
Two rescue ships are waiting to land
Meanwhile, two other rescue ships are still waiting for a landing: the German rescue ship “Rise Above” with 90 people on board and the Norwegian “Ocean Viking” with 234 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean. They are both not far from Sicily. You have not yet received a landing permit.
The actions of the new Italian government of Giorgia Meloni, which no longer wants to take in migrants rescued from the Mediterranean Sea and sees the flag states of the ships as having an obligation, are met with sharp criticism. “At this moment, a selective disembarkation is taking place in the port of Catania. The shipwrecked, already exhausted by cold, fatigue, trauma and torture, are considered objects by the will of Giorgia Meloni’s government. A shame!” wrote the deputy of the Greens and the Italian Left, Aboubakar Soumahoro, who was in the port of Catania, on Twitter. Around 30 activists, including some left-wing parliamentarians, demanded that all rescued migrants be disembarked at the quay.
“The Mediterranean is a graveyard”
The Pope also commented on the subject of migration on the flight home from his trip to Bahrain on Sunday. “Life must be saved, the Mediterranean Sea is a graveyard, perhaps the largest graveyard,” the pope complained, according to the media. “The Italian government cannot do anything without an agreement with Europe, the responsibility lies with the EU. Each government of the European Union must agree on how many migrants it can accept,” Francis said. He called on the EU not to leave Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Spain solely responsible for all migrants sailing across the Mediterranean.
The Meloni government received praise from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban for its tough immigration policy. “Finally! We owe a great debt of gratitude to Giorgia Meloni and the new Italian government for protecting Europe’s borders,” Orban said. The tweet ends with the hashtag “#ThankYouGiorgia.
What to do with the refugees?
The Italian government, meanwhile, is holding talks with France, which has signaled its willingness to take in some refugees. France will set the procedure for receiving migrants who have landed in Italy at a meeting of its interior ministry on Tuesday. French Ministry sources confirmed the willingness expressed last Friday by Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin to “take in some of the migrants, women and children, so that Italy does not have to bear the burden of this arrival alone”.
According to the same source, after a visit by French immigration officials to Italy, talks with the migrants to be admitted are set to begin, Italian news agency ANSA reported.