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(AFP) — A fresh stand-off brewed Saturday between NGO migrant transports and Italy’s populist interior minister Matteo Salvini after two boats carrying migrants arrived off the coast of Lampedusa seeking a safe port.
Mediterranea’s Italian-flagged Alex with 41 migrants on board was on Saturday joined by German charity Sea-Eye’s vessel Alan Kurdi, carrying 65 migrants collected off Libya.
Populist - Salvini - Month - Decree - Fines
Italian populist Salvini last month issued a decree that would bring fines of up to 50,000 euros ($57,000) for the captain, owner and operator of a vessel “entering Italian territorial waters without authorisation”.
“We are waiting in international waters off the island of Lampedusa,” Sea-Eye tweeted from the Alan Kurdi.
Guardia - Di - Finanza - Person - Salvini´s
“The Guardia di Finanza came by in person to deliver Salvini´s decree: The port is closed,” it said, referring to customs officers.
Minister - Horst - Seehofer - Germany - Board
German interior minister Horst Seehofer tweeted that Germany was ready to take in some of those on board “as part of a European-solidarity solution.”
Sea-Eye said the 64 men and one woman were picked up from an overloaded blue dinghy lacking sufficient drinking water, and there was no satellite phone or navigation aid on board.
Salvini - NGO - Vessels - Smugglers - Vessel
Salvini accuses NGO vessels of helping smugglers and said the other vessel, Alex, should sail for the Maltese capital Valetta after 13 “vulnerable” people were on Friday taken to Lampedusa, leaving 41 on board.
Valletta has also told the Alex to go to Maltese waters to disembark the migrants, but Mediterranea says the journey would be too arduous.
Photographs - Dozens - Migrants - Asylum - Seekers
Photographs showed dozens of migrants and asylum seekers seeking shelter from the sun under survival blankets on the narrow deck of the 18-metre (59-foot) sailboat.
“In these conditions it is impossible to face 15 hours...
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