A German rescue group protests after Italy seizes a migrant rescue ship

Germany’s humanitarian search and rescue organisation SOS-Humanity on Wednesday protested Italy’s seizure of its rescue ship Humanity 1.

The ship was detained for twenty days by the Italian authorities late on Monday evening after disembarking the 77 rescued people on board.

“Our vessel has been detained even though we followed international law at all times. We have been transparent and provided all evidence. Now Humanity 1 is detained due to the Piantedosi Law for a reason that none of the present authorities could explain to me,” criticises Leo, the captain of the Humanity 1, in the port of Crotone.

SOS Humanity says the Italian authorities attempted to justify the arrest of the Humanity 1 on the grounds that the Humanity 1 would have caused a dangerous situation for the people in distress at sea.

“Humanity 1 was first on the scene and therefore responsible for the rescue according to maritime law. I was personally in charge of the operation. We started by distributing life jackets to people in three boats in distress. If the so-called Libyan Coast Guard had not turned up to illegally return survivors to Libya, we would have carried out the rescue in an orderly way.”

It said it picked up 77 people but others, as it is claimed by SOS Humanity, “were forcibly taken on board the patrol boat and forced back to Libya.”

“After disembarking 77 survivors, the Humanity 1 is detained in Crotone, Italy. The reasons given for this are unfounded and illegitimate,” SOS Humanity noted.

SOS Humanity now demands an independent investigation into the incidents on 2 March and the immediate release of its detained rescue ship Humanity 1 in order to continue saving people in distress at sea from drowning.

Source: SOS-Humanity