Police detain alleged smuggler migrants rescued by Eleonore

Mare Jonio ship seized. NGO denounces hefty fine

03 September, 15:12

    Migrants disembarked from the German NGO Lifeline rescue ship Eleonore in the port of Pozzallo, southern Italy Migrants disembarked from the German NGO Lifeline rescue ship Eleonore in the port of Pozzallo, southern Italy

    POZZALLO (RAGUSA) - Ragusa police on Tuesday detained the alleged skipper of a boat carrying 104 migrants who were rescued by the Eleonore ship operated by German NGO Mission lifeline. The Eleonore on Monday docked on Pozzallo and was seized by authorities for not abiding by a ban to enter Italian waters. The 18-year-old Sudanese suspect is under investigation on charges of aiding and abetting illegal immigration, investigative sources said.

    The suspect was identified after Ragusa police questioned several witnesses, the sources said.

    The migrants said they left Libya's coast after living for a few months at a connection house. They said that they paid on average 1,500 euros each to reach Europe.

    The alleged smuggler reportedly skippered the boat for 15 hours before it was rescued off Libya's coast, police said.

    Witnesses described with extreme precision the suspect's conduct before and after departure ahead of the rescue operation, investigators said.

    Meanwhile the European Commission has said that an agreement has been reached with five member States to reallocate the migrants who will be distributed in Germany, Luxembourg, Ireland, Portugal and France. The Commission took charge of coordinating hosting measures at Germany's request, said a Commission spokesperson, adding that it was not involved directly in the cases of the Mare Jonio and Alan Kurdi vessels.

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