Italy restricts Banksy refugee ship |  outside

Italy restricts Banksy refugee ship | outside

The rescue ship Louise Michel, financed by the unknown English artist Banksy, has been restrained by the Italian authorities. The ship is said to have made several rescues and was not allowed to leave the port of Lampedusa.

Ignoring the order to sail to the Sicilian port of Trapani would be the reason Louise Michel was chained by the Italian authorities. The ship’s crew called the action “unacceptable” in a tweet. “Twenty-four hours after the punishment, we still don’t have any written reason for the punishment. We know that dozens of boats are currently in danger off the island, but we are not allowed to provide assistance.”

After Louise Michel pulled dozens of migrants from the sea this weekend, the crew has been instructed to sail to the port of Trapani to bring them ashore. However, on the way to Sicily, the ship carried out few rescues and the crew had broken the rules of the Italian government’s new decree. According to this decree, NGO ships must sail to a safe port designated by the Coast Guard after each rescue.

The Italian coast guard said in a statement that ignoring the order to sail to a safe port and continuing with other rescue operations was against the rules.

Funded by English artist Banksy, Louise Michel carried out a total of five rescues this weekend. The first more than seventy migrants were caught from the Mediterranean Sea on the night of Saturday to Sunday and taken on board a boat of the Italian Coast Guard. Early Sunday morning, the ship disembarked 78 migrants in the port of Lampedusa, and later delivered more than a hundred migrants to the Italian island.

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Lampedusa is overcrowded

Due to the constant flow of boats, the reception center in Lampedusa is overcrowded, with more than 1,600 migrants in the center while there is space for a maximum of 350 people. Hundreds of migrants are forced to sleep outside because the beds are occupied.

This past weekend was “complicated,” according to Italy’s coast guard, as dozens of boats carrying an estimated 3,000 migrants were supposed to set sail for Italy. The coast guard said the constant calls from NGO ships would have irritated the coordination center in Rome, making the job more difficult.

strained for the ages

The relationship between the Coast Guard Coordination Center in Rome and the NGO ships has been tense for some time, for example, the crew of the rescue ship Ocean Viking accuses the coast guard of ignoring the incident with the Libyan coast guard last Friday. During a rescue operation in the Libyan search and rescue area, the Libyan Coast Guard fired into the air to chase the Ocean Viking away. According to the crew, the coordination center was closed after the incident was reported.

According to the latest figures from the Interior Ministry, nearly 27,000 people have arrived by boat in Italy so far, a fourfold increase compared to last year, with more than 6,500 in the past five days.

© ANP / EPA

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