The<em>’Ocean Viking</em> in the heart of the Mediterranean sea
July 22, 2020 19h55
Italy stopped the ship humanitarian Ocean Viking for reasons of “technical”
ROME — The ship humanitarian Ocean Viking, chartered by the NGO SOS Mediterranean, was detained on Wednesday by the Italian coast guard because of”technical irregularities”, a-t-on learned from several sources.
On 7 July, the boat-ambulance had been allowed to disembark at Porto Empedocle, in Sicily, 180 migrants it had rescued at sea, transferred on a ferry to observe two weeks of quarantine before their welcome to earth.
The ship, which was supposed to leave for Marseille (France), her home port, had been ordered to anchor off the port of the sicilian, with its crew and a journalist from theAFP to the edge, to a quarantine of fourteen days.
On Tuesday, the Italian authorities have lifted the quarantine, but as of Wednesday, the vessel was detained.
According to a press release from the Italian coast guard, an inspection revealed “several irregularities technical and operational”.
These shortcomings, not specified, are “likely to jeopardize not only the safety of the vessel and the crew, but also people who have been and that could be retrieved on board”.
The press release also states that “violations of the regulation for the protection of the marine environment”, and the ship is the object, since a measure of “administrative detention” until the correction of irregularities.
In a text message to theAFP, a spokesperson of the NGO has confirmed that the’Ocean Viking was “held in Porto Empedocle to the following control of the Italian coast guard”.
A similar measure was referred to another ship of NGOS assisting migrants at sea, the Sea Watch.
In a press release, the NGO has subsequently denounced the “administrative harassment” of which she says she is the victim, intended to “prevent the activity of rescue vessels of the NGOS”.
“These last three months, the same argument on security has been used by the Italian authorities to secure four vessels of NGOS”, said Frédéric Penard, director of operations, SOS Mediterranean, in this press release.
According to the Italian news agency Ansa, the Italian customs were rescued Wednesday 90 migrants drifting on a small boat in difficulty off the island of Lampedusa, south of Sicily, european territory closer to the libyan coast.
After a long interruption due to the pandemic of novel coronavirus, the return to the sea of theOcean Viking is made in a context of strong recovery of the crossings of the central Mediterranean. And Italy is afraid to see the largest contingent of ships of humanitarian aid.
The head of the League (far right), Matteo Salvini, is expected Thursday on Lampedusa where hundreds of migrants have arrived in recent weeks.