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“France has no doubts, Italy will welcome the Ocean Viking”

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“France has no doubts, Italy will welcome the Ocean Viking”

“He has no doubt. Italy will respect international law ». This was stated by the French Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin, about the “safe reception” in one of the Italian ports of the humanitarian ship Ocean Viking of the NGO Sos Méditerranée, blocked at sea with 234 migrants on board.

“International law is very clear: when a boat asks to dock with castaways on board, it is the safest and closest port that must welcome it – continued the minister -. Specifically, Italy ».

The NGO Sos Méditerranée has asked France, Spain and Greece for help to find a safe haven for the 234 migrants rescued on the Ocean Viking ship “so that they can disembark before the weather gets worse. The rescue organization at sea fears strong winds, high waves and a drop in temperature by the end of the week ”and warns that its supplies are starting to run out.

Sos Méditerranée has already contacted, under maritime law, the authorities in the research area – Libya and Malta – without obtaining a response, said the director, Sophie Beau. Subsequently, the NGO contacted the Italian authorities, but with little hope of obtaining authorization for the landing: “The Minister of the Interior in his statements targeted the Ocean Viking”, recalls Sophie Beau, referring to an announcement by Matteo Piantedosi who warns of the prohibition of entry of the ship into its territorial waters. In addition to the Ocean Viking, the altolà of the Italian government was also addressed to the “Geo Barents” of Doctors Without Borders and to the German ship SOS Humanity.

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In the meantime, Norway underlines that it has “no responsibility under human rights conventions or the law of the sea for persons embarked on board private vessels or NGOs flying the Norwegian flag in the Mediterranean”. This was specified by the Norwegian ambassador in Rome Johan Vibe in an email sent to Reuters in response to Italy’s appeal to Oslo and Germany to take charge of migrants stranded in the Mediterranean.

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