Rescue boat brings 41 shipwrecked migrants into port in defiance of Italy's bid to close them

Mail Online | 7/6/2019 | Liz Perkins For Mailonline
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Forty one shipwrecked migrants were rescued by a charity vessel and brought into port at a Mediterranean island.

Mediterranea's Italian-flagged Alex arrived in Lampedusa in defiance of far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

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It is the second boat to do so and the migrants were met by a strong police presence.

Everyone was forced to remain onboard after a two-day wait with the rescued migrants and asylum-seekers on the small sailboat's deck.

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'In view of the intolerable hygiene conditions aboard, the Alex has declared a state of emergency and is sailing towards Lampedusa, the only possible safe port for landing.' Mediterranea said in a tweet earlier.

Italian populist Salvini last month decreed fines of up to 50,000 euros ($57,000) would be faced by the captain, owner and operator of a vessel 'entering Italian territorial waters without authorisation'.

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Salvini branded the charity workers onboard Alex as 'jackals... will they go unpunished also?'

A rescue ship belonging to German aid group Sea-Watch was also seized last week by authorities on Lampedusa.

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The action was taken after it forced its way into port with dozens of rescued migrants onboard leading its captain, Carola Rackete, to be arrested.

But an Italian judge intervened in the row this week and demanded for her to be freed in the wake of her life-saving actions in the face of Salvini's stance.

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Two probes on charges of helping people smugglers and resisting the authorities are still taking place.

Meanwhile, a third rescue ship from German charity Sea-Eye's vessel Alan Kurdi, carrying 65 shipwrecked migrants rescued off Libya on Saturday also arrived.

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It remained in international waters off the Mediterranean island.

'We are waiting in international waters off the island of Lampedusa,' Sea-Eye tweeted from the Alan Kurdi.

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German Interior Minister...
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