ANSA: Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said Wednesday that he will not give the all-clear for Coast Guard ship Diciotti to dock unless he has the names of the migrants on board involved in alleged violence on the private Italian vessel that initially rescued the group off Libya.
“Before I give any authorisation, I am waiting to know the names, surnames and nationality of the violent hijackers who must get off the Diciotti in handcuffs,” Salvini said. The Diciotti ship carrying 67 rescued asylum seekers is expected arrive in Trapani, Sicily, later on Wednesday. The migrants were rescued off Libya by a private Italian vessel, the Vos Thalassa, and then transferred to the coast guard ship because the safety of the crew of the Vos Thalassa endangered by the conduct of some migrants, Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli said. Salvini is unhappy that Italian vessels got involved in the rescue, anticipating an intervention by the Libyan Coast Guard.
Salvini met Premier Giuseppe Conte on Wednesday and afterwards he said he had reached a “common line” with the head of government. But he also warned that: “I won’t authorise the until I have guarantees that the delinquents who hijacked a ship with violence will spend some time in jail and then be taken back to their own countries”. League leader Salvini has spearheaded the hardline stance on migrants of the new coalition government that has seen NGO-run migrant rescue ships denied access to Italian ports.
A report on The Times said that African migrants threatened to kill the crew of an Italian cargo vessel that had rescued them in the Mediterranean, in an attempt to avoid being returned to detention centres in Libya.
The Italian coastguard picked up the migrants after receiving a call for help from the ship. They were being taken yesterday to Italy where the ringleaders will be questioned by police over the incident.
The mutiny on the Vos Thalassa marked an escalation in problems in the Mediterranean after Italy’s new populist government refused entry to migrants picked up by charity boats and handed over rescue responsibilities to the Libyan coastguard.
The incident has raised new concerns for merchant sailors who face a difficult dilemma because it is illegal under international maritime law to…