The Malta Independent 22 February 2020, Saturday

Italy closes port to 49 migrants rescued by NGO ship

Associated Press Tuesday, 19 March 2019, 18:58 Last update: about 12 months ago

taly's hard-line interior minister is again refusing to allow migrants rescued at sea by humanitarian groups to disembark in Italy.

Matteo Salvini told Sky TG24 Tuesday that the 49 migrants aboard the Mare Jonio "can be treated, dressed and fed. We can give them every manner of comfort, but they will not set foot in Italy."

The migrants, including 12 minors, were rescued Monday off the coast of Libya by the Italian humanitarian group Mediterranea Saving Humans.

The Jonio sailed to Italy's southernmost island Lampedusa, where it was flanked by Italian coast guard and finance police boats.

The mayor of Lampedusa is challenging Salvini's assertion that Italian ports are closed. Toto Martello said that more than 3,000 migrants arrived in Lampedusa last year on smuggler's boats.

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