Captain Carola Rackete of the Sea-Watch 3 migrant-rescue ship has defied Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s order to stay out of Italian waters. The ship tried to get into the port of Lampedusa to land its 42 migrants but was blocked on Thursday.
“I decided to enter the port of Lampedusa. I know what I risk, but the shipwrecked 42 are exhausted. I’ll take them to a safe place,” the 31-year-old captain said in remarks quoted by Le Parisien.
The captain wants to gain entry so the 42 migrants they saved off Libya two weeks ago can be allowed to stay in the EU.
Captain Carola stressed that her move was made “not by provocation, but by necessity, by responsibility.”
Salvini immediately reacted in a video broadcast live on Facebook:
“No one comes in unless someone cares to take them to Amsterdam, Berlin or Brussels. I have had enough!”
Salvini has ordered for the arrest of Rackete on the grounds of illegal immigration. Salvini sharply criticized the actions of the German refugee organization.
“The ship’s captain, heroine of the left, should volunteer in Germany, instead of taking 42 people for two weeks as hostages,” he said in a video message on Wednesday.
Salvini added that Rackete committed a hostile act and urged the Netherlands to open its doors to the migrants on board Sea Watch 3 which flies the Dutch flag and run by a German NGO.
“The Sea-Watch has carried out a political battle on the backs of 42 people,” Salvini said via Twitter on Thursday. “It could have got to Holland twice in two weeks. They have rejected nearer safe ports.”
“As far as I’m concerned, the Sea-Watch will not arrive in Italy, it can stay there until Christmas and the New Year,” he said. “It’s been 13 days, they would have had time to go to the Netherlands and come back,” he also added.