Mare Jonio impounded in Lampedusa after migrant rescue

Photo credit: Il Primato Nazionale

LAMPEDUSA - Italian authorities have impounded the Mare Jonio, a ship belonging to NGO Mediterranea Saving Humans which Thursday rescued 30 migrants off the coast of Libya, police authorities have said.

 Mediterranea posted a video of the boat being escorted by the Guardia di Finanza on their twitter, writing: “The Mare Jonio has just been taken away for having entered Lampedusa’s port to complete a rescue operation and disembark shipwrecked [migrants] in a safe harbour, as required by the law.”

 This is the latest stand taken by Interior Minister Matteo Salvini on immigration, after he declared Italy’s ports closed to any ships carrying migrants aboard. “I understand that the Mare Jonio will not enter Lampedusa as a free ship… I am the Interior Minister so I must guarantee the safety of citizens,” Salvini said after the news broke.

 The Mare Jonio had picked the shipwrecked migrants up 40 nautical miles off the African coast earlier this week. Among the 30 people saved were two pregnant ladies and five minors. The migrants were allowed to disembark in Lampedusa, and were met with applause from gathered onlookers.