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German rescue ship arrested near Lampedusa

The Italian authorities have temporarily detained the German sea rescue ship "Louise Michel" in the port of the island of Lampedusa.

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German rescue ship arrested near Lampedusa

The Italian authorities have temporarily detained the German sea rescue ship "Louise Michel" in the port of the island of Lampedusa. The crew of the ship, also known as the Banksy boat because of its pink paintwork, brought around 180 migrants ashore to Lampedusa on Saturday after a total of four rescue operations in the Mediterranean, the Coast Guard announced on Sunday. However, the crew violated a new law of the legal government in Italy: It states that after an initial rescue operation, a port must be headed for immediately instead of possibly carrying out several rescues.

According to the crew, the Coast Guard assigned the port of the western Sicilian city of Trapani to the port after the first mission off the Libyan coast. However, the ship carried out three more rescue operations and picked up people. Lampedusa has been confronted with a strong influx of migrants for several days - in the last two days more than 3000 people who made their way from the North African coast across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe reached the Mediterranean island.

The aid organization Louise Michel described the actions of the authorities as "unacceptable". The ship had already been fixed late on Sunday evening - for several hours, however, "Louise Michel" had not received any official written justification for the fixing, the organization tweeted. They also accused the authorities of preventing them from further necessary rescue operations on the high seas. Dozens of other boats with people in need are in distress.

At the end of February, the rescue ship "Geo Barents" of the private aid organization Doctors Without Borders was arrested by the Italian authorities. At that time, the determination was valid for 20 days, and a fine of 10,000 euros was also imposed. At that time, too, the port authority accused the organization of violating the new law and not having provided the requested information. The government in Rome tightened the action against private sea rescuers with the same law.

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