Coast guard ship lets only minors off as 115 remain onboard

EU asks members to take them in, Germany willing

30 July, 10:43

    (by Massimo Nesticò) (ANSAmed) - Rome, July 30 - Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has ordered that coast guard ship Bruno Gregoretti should not enter an Italian port until other EU countries agree to take in all the migrants onboard and only those needing medical treatment were previously allowed to disembark.

    Now those under age 18 have also been allowed, some 5 days after the migrants were rescued in two operations in the Mediterranean Sea.

    Some 115 remain onboard.

    Brussels has said that efforts are underway to see what member states would be willing to take in some of the migrants, while Germany said it would already on Friday. On Lampedusa and in Catania - the first stops made by the Gregoretti - 10 people had previously been allowed to leave the ship due to medical emergencies, including women and children. The situation onboard is reportedly not good, with cases of scabies, and the fact that so many people are crowded into a small space on a military ship not equipped for these purposes is creating difficulties for both the crew and the passengers. On Monday, Red Cross volunteers brought hygiene kits, clothes and shoes onboard and Siracusa assistant prosecutor Fabio Scavone is monitoring the situation for legal initiatives. Also on Monday the interior ministry agreed to allow unaccompanied minors to disembark, who the ministry said were ''16 individuals that have declared themselves to be minors'' between ag 15 and 17. They left the ship in the evening and were taken to reception centers. The Italian government sent a request on Friday to the European Commission to coordinate the distribution of the migrants onboard and on Tuesday a spokesman said that the commission had ''begun contacts to support and coordinate all member states that intend to take part in solidarity efforts concerning the migrants onboard''. These contacts, he added, ''are still underway''.

    Brussels has thus stressed that its role is that of 'gathering' the willingness of individual states. So far only Germany has declared its intention to contribute to taking in some of the migrants, as the government spokesperson has announced. Salvini has meanwhile said that if the EU does not step up to the plate, then the 115 will not be leaving the Gregoretti. Meanwhile, Alan Kurdi ship of the German NGO Sea Eye has arrived in the Libyan search and rescue area, sparking comments from the Italian interior minister. ''The usual German NGO ship,'' he wrote on Facebook, ''has announced that it has returned to Libyan waters and is asking for online donations (suggested price: 14 euros per nautical mile). No comment...Have a nice trip, but far from Italy.'' Some 31 Iraqis arrived in the Crotone port on Tuesday, not brought by a humanitarian rescue ship nor by the coast guard, on a sailboat from Turkey. the 'journeys of hope' thus continue. (ANSAmed).

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