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Italy is requesting the seizure of ‘Aquarius’ by alleged anomalies in the management of waste

The struggle in Italy with the rescue boats of the NGOS is far from being closed. The office of the prosecutor of Catania has ordered on Tuesday the seizing of the Aquarius —the ship of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and SOS Mediterránée used for rescues of migrants in the Central Mediterranean, and the last of an NGO which stayed in the area— and investigates to 24 people, the majority staff of the MSF, for an alleged illegal treatment of waste considered hazardous. The organization qualifies the decision of the prosecutor as an “attack worrying and instrumental to block the saving of lives at sea”.

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The prosecutor's office accuses the responsible for the vessel not to have sorted and separated the waste normal those who are considered to be dangerous for scales techniques and landings at various ports in italy. And investigates an alleged illegal traffic of waste. According to the report, “there was a illegal treatment of waste on 44 occasions and a total of 24,000 pounds of waste.” It is medical supplies, clothing “contaminated” worn by the immigrants at the time of the rescue, food remains and other waste with potential infection.

The director of MSF in Italy, Gabriele Eminent, explained in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon in Rome, who have always carried out the work of landing of waste according to standard operating procedures and in accordance with the directions of the maritime authorities. “We are more than prepared to clarify the facts, and we are responsible for the operational procedures that we follow, but we reaffirm categorically the legitimacy and legality of our humanitarian work,” he said. And called the accusation a “unique, very disproportionate and very serious”, since “it is not trying to discern in what bag to leave the offal, but it speaks of a chain of illegal trafficking of waste”.

The prosecutor's office investigates two shipping agents in charge of the management of the waste: the owner of the society of intermediation maritime Mediterranean Shipping Agency, Francesco Gianino, specified that it proposed to waste management at a lower price if it was Goldenbahis not stated a possible hazard of the waste, and the legal representative of the company, Giovanni Ivan. The rest of the surveyed is NGO personnel that are engaged in the management of rescue missions and also the commander of the Aquarius, the Russian Evgenii Talanin, and the first officer, the Ukrainian Oleksandr Yurchenko.

According to the charges, investigated "shared, planned and conducted a project in the criminal for the elimination of illegal huge quantity of hazardous waste and with the risk that they are infectious, derived from the activities of relief to immigrants with boats Vos Prudence (from march 2017 to July 2017) and Aquarius (from January 2017 to may 2018)".

Eminent underlines: “it Is absurd to imagine that we have put in place a system of traffic of waste with the authorities coming on board hundreds of times in the landings”.

The prosecution has provided in addition to the lock 460,000 euros in the accounts of the NGO, which would be, according to his calculations, the savings for not having made a proper disposal of the waste. And will anchor the ship if you reach Italian waters, or to some port of the country, which is currently docked in the port of Marseille. “Ask for lock a ship that is already locked”, says Eminent. The maritime authority of Panama retired the flag at the Aquarius this past September, which prevents you from browsing. Then the NGO denounced the “brutal pressure” from Rome to the central american country. This fact, in the context of the policy of closed ports enacted in Italy by the minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini, has prevented the vessel can continue with your rescue work.

Doctors Without Borders since they started operations in the Mediterranean have been rescued up to 80,000 people, and specified that they were in the sea, “to fill a lack, and the lack of an effective mechanism of institutions and european Governments”. The responsible emergency of MSF, Karline Kleijer, said that the investigation of the prosecutor's office of Catania is "a new and disturbing attempt to stop at any cost the activity of rescue and search at sea."

Salvini, was very combative with the NGOS and the boats involved in the rescue of migrants in the Mediterranean, welcomed the decision of the prosecutor's office. “I've done well by blocking the boats from the NGOS, I have stopped not only the smuggling of illegal immigrants, but also, by the looks of it, also the toxic waste,” he wrote on Twitter.

The chief prosecutor of Catania, who leads this research, Carmelo Zuccaro, is known for his fixation with NGOS operating in the Central Mediterranean to rescue migrants, against which he has directed several research since two and half years ago. Their investigations into the alleged complicity of these organizations and people traffickers up to now have not yielded any conclusion. He was also the one who recently asked the file of the investigation to the minister Salvini for unlawful detention, kidnapping people and other crimes in their management of the case of the patrol Diciotti last August.

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