Italy has seized the Spanish rescue ship of the non-profit non-governmental organization Open Arms.

The Italian authorities have imposed a new 20-day administrative blockade and a fine of up to €10,000 for the Open Arms. 

“In the current maritime environment, regulations seem to have lost their validity,” Open Arms noted in a post earlier this year.

After more than 6 hours of interrogation of our captain and our SAR coordinator, the Italian authorities seize our boat again, said Open Arms yesterday, whose mission is to monitor and rescue vessels carrying people who need help in the Mediterranean channel.

Open Arms originate from a sea rescue company with more than 20 years’ experience on the Spanish coasts.

It called the sanctions “a violation of the law of the sea” that requires boats to rescue people in distress. It said it was being punished for rescuing 176 people in danger in three rescue operations in international waters in the central Mediterranean.

“The far-right government of Meloni and Salvini continues its strategy of harassing the work of humanitarian ships. Once again it investigates, fines and arrests those who save lives while funding with millions of public money those who imprison, torture and blackmail vulnerable people,” the organization said.

It added that “We will bear this unjust detention and the resulting legal costs, but we find it unacceptable to have to suffer this situation because we have done our duty, respecting the Law of the Sea and international conventions.”

The non-profitable non-governmental organization has a large portfolio of rescues in the Mediterranean Sea. As it claims it arrived at the Greek coast of Lesbos in September 2015 and invested them on financing the rescue works for a month.