Italy: Government seizes NGO migrant ferry

On Monday, Italian authorities seized a German NGO migrant ferry that had been stuck at sea for about a week. Following the seizure of the ship, more than 100 migrants who were on board were allowed to disembark in Sicily. 

According to a report by Euronews, the ship’s captain began making its way to the port of Pozzallo, on the island of Sicily, which sparked a fresh standoff between the NGO and Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, just as he set to be ousted from his position. 

The captain of the ship, ‘the Eleonore’, Claus-Peter Reisch apparently had made the decision to enter Italian waters, in defiance of the authorities, due to brewing storms.

The ‘Eleonore’ is operated by the German NGO Mission Lifeline.

Reisch tweeted, “After eight days of waiting for a safe harbor, after countless attempts to convince states to care for 104 people, tonight the weather has decided.”

Matteo Salvini, last week, signed a decree which banned the ‘Eleonore’ from entering Italian waters as part of its closed-door policy to NGO migrant transport vessels.  

A spokesman for Italy’s financial police confirmed in Rome that the ship had been “seized”.

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