Posted on November 9, 2022

Migrant Charity Ship Spurned by Italy Heads to France

Alvise Armellini and Angelo Amante, Reuters, November 8, 2022

A migrant rescue ship with more than 200 people on board headed to France on Tuesday after Italy refused it permission to dock as its new right-wing Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni attempts to crack down on migration across the Mediterranean.

Meloni’s two-week-old government has told charity vessels to take rescued people to other countries, although a long stand-off initially involving four boats showed signs of resolution on Tuesday as two were allowed to disembark their passengers.

“After Italy’s silence, we ask French maritime authorities to assign a port to the 234 survivors on the #OceanViking,” French charity SOS Mediterranee said, noting many of the migrants have been at sea for 18 days.

There was no immediate word from France on the request.

The situation “has reached a limit”, SOS Mediterranee representative Alessandro Porro said in a statement, adding that the Ocean Viking was expected to reach international waters off the French island of Corsica on Thursday.

It has spent the last few days off Sicily.

In a sign that Rome’s campaign against the non-governmental groups was having some impact, Spanish charity Salvamento Maritimo Humanitario said it would postpone a planned sea rescue mission due to the risk of its ship being seized by Italian authorities.


Italy’s Transport Minister Matteo Salvini, head of the anti-migrant League party, cheered the development, tweeting: “Onwards like this. Italy will not be an accomplice of human trafficking. Is anyone starting to get this?”