Italy ordered migrant rescue ship to stay in Port

Italian authorities have ordered the Ocean Viking migrant rescue ship to remain in a port near Rome after it failed an inspection, its owner said on Thursday.

After disembarking 57 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean, the ship underwent a seven-hour inspection by the coast guard in the port of Civitavecchia, north of the Italian capital, on Tuesday.

SOS Mediterranean said in a statement that it had been placed in administrative detention “indefinitely” after discovering “some minor technical and administrative problems”.

The Coast Guard did not respond to AFP’s request for information.

SOS Mediterranean press officer Francesco Crezzo said the issue raised by the Italian coastguard was related to the number of lifeboats and special operators on board.

Crezzo said the Ocean Viking has been inspected by the Coast Guard seven times in the past three years.

Italy’s hard-right government, which came to power in October 2022, has taken a number of measures to restrict the activities of ships operated by non-governmental organizations that rescue migrants who get into trouble on crossings from North Africa.

In February, parliament approved a government order limiting charity ships to one sea rescue at a time, requiring them to dock at a port designated by authorities after each rescue.

NGOs say this is like ignoring other emergencies on the water after rescue ships and forcing them to divert to distant ports instead of nearby ones.

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