NGO-run ship Mare Jonio seized after migrant rescue

Mediterranea Saving Humans vessel picked up 30 people

10 May, 13:33

    ROME - Finance police put the Mare Jonio under sequester on Friday after the NGO-run search-and-rescue ship picked up 30 migrants in the Mediterranean, interior ministry sources said. The finance police boarded the ship to carry out a check on Friday after the Mare Jonio entered Italian waters and found evidence of offences, the sources said.

    The ship was then allowed to enter the port of the Italian island of Lampedusa to be put under sequester.

    Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini had reaffirmed his policy of closing Italy's ports to NGO-run migrant-rescue ships when commenting on the Mare Jonio's latest operation on Thursday.

    On Friday he said the latest development had not undermined that policy.

    "From what I know, the Jonio is not entering Lampedusa as a free ship," he said. The sequester is linked to accusations against the crew of alleged aiding of illegal immigration.

    The NGO, Mediterranea Saving Humans, said five minors, including a one-year-old child, and two pregnant women were among the people rescued on Thursday some 40 miles from Libyan coast.

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