The ship 'Eleonore', with about one hundred migrants and refugees rescued on board, has entered Monday in territorial waters of Italy despite the express prohibition issued by the Government, according to the ship's captain and the German NGO Mission Lifeline, which have 'a posteriori' confirmed a permit for docking.
The captain, Claus Reisch, has declared a state of emergency on board after spending eight days in the open sea with a hundred migrants on board. A strong storm has caused flooding on the deck, so it sails towards the Siliciano port of Pozzallo.
Members of the Italian Finance Guard have climbed aboard and have authorized the captain to navigate to a port to disembark the migrants, according to the Twitter account @Seegezwitscher, which follows the activities of the 'Eleonore'. The ship will be blocked for investigations.
A spokesman for Mission Lifeline had explained to the DPA news agency that the entry veto enacted by the acting Interior Minister of Italy, Matteo Salvini, is not applicable in the event that there may be lives in danger.
Salvini himself has responded to the challenge of the 'Eleonore' through Twitter, from where he stressed that the laws must be “respected.” “If someone thinks they can cheat without consequences, they are mistaken in the flat and they are mistaken as a minister: I do and will do my best to defend Italy,” he warned.
More than 900 migrants and refugees have died so far this year trying to reach the countries of southern Europe by sea, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Italy maintains a policy of 'closed ports' to the NGO, which threatens fines that can reach one million euros.