Italy announced, on Saturday, the detention of a rescue ship belonging to the German NGO “CI” in the port of Palermo, Sicily (southern) on Friday, due to its failure to respect security rules.
“The inspection revealed several violations of a technical nature that could endanger not only the safety of the crew, but also the safety of people who were or may be recovered in the future during rescue operations,” the Italian Coast Guard said in a statement.
The inspection also confirmed that the rescue equipment on the ship is sufficient for a maximum of 27 people, which means that in an emergency situation the crew will not be able to guarantee the disembarkation of the people on board.
The ship docked in the port of Palermo after disembarking 415 immigrants, and spent the period of quarantine imposed by the health authorities.
The German non-governmental organization condemned the Italian authorities’ decision against its “C-I4” ship, and said: “As has happened to other civilian rescue ships, the same technical reasons are now invoked in order to put an end to the missions of the C-I4+.”
“The pretext that German rescue ships regularly save many from drowning remains and is not properly certified for this humanitarian purpose,” said Gorden Isler, head of the organization. He continued, “The captain performed his duty to rescue at sea perfectly. Watch emergencies at sea, and carry out a safe rescue operation. European Union countries can follow his example.”
This was the first mission of the C-I4 that left Germany in mid-April, heading to the Mediterranean.
Italy is a major entry point for migrants from the North African region, which has seen a sharp rise in departures compared to previous years.