Italy allows migrant rescue ship to dock at Sicilian port

Italy has finally given permission for a cargo ship which rescued over a hundred migrants to dock at the Sicilian port of Pozzallo.

The Alexander Maersk, a Danish flagged ship, resuced 113 migrants off the coast of Libya last Friday.

The mayor of Pozzallo, who supervised the arrival early on Tuesday, said he was happy that the Italian interior minister had allowed the Maersk to dock after he had made specific requests.

Italy has taken in 650,000 boat migrants since 2014 but its new, tough approach of turning away ships has aggravated EU tensions over immigration policy.

Mayor Roberto Ammatuna denied Italy and Europe were living a “migrant emergency.”

Italy still refuses to let rescue ships run by aid agencies, dock at its ports and may only have made an exception because the Alexander Maersk is a commercial cargo ship.

The Lifeline, which is run by a German aid agency, remains at sea off Malta with 230 migrants on board, also rescued off the coast of Libya.

A French government spokesman said on Tuesday that Malta may allow it to dock.

EU leaders will hold another summit on migration this weekend – on Monday the Italian government raised the idea of creating reception centres for migrants on Libyan soil and processing them there in an attempt to stop them making the risky voyage across the Mediterranean.

 

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