The Malta Independent 23 October 2019, Wednesday

Rescue ship heads to Italy, with another blocked off shore

Associated Press Saturday, 6 July 2019, 13:58 Last update: about 5 months ago

The German humanitarian group Sea-Eye says its rescue ship Alan Kurdi with 65 rescued people on board is sailing toward the Italian island of Lampedusa, where it will join another blocked offshore.

The announcement, made late Friday, is sure to escalate tensions with Italy over its refusal to offer a safe port to NGO ships.

Another ship, the Alex operated by the Italian group Mediterranea Saving Humans, is already off Lampedusa just outside Italian territorial waters with another 40 migrants.

Sea-Eye said "we are not intimidated" by Italy's hard-line interior minister, Matteo Salvini, "but instead head toward the nearest port of safety." Thirty-nine claim to be minors.

The new standoffs come a week after a German rescue ship forced its way into Lampedusa's port citing "a state of necessity."

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