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An Italian charity ship rescued some 50 migrants at sea off Libya Monday, prompting Rome to warn it was ready to "stop once and for all" such private vessels from bringing those saved to Italy.
Italy's hardline Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has repeatedly declared Italian waters closed to NGO rescue vessels and has left several of them stranded at sea in the past in a bid to force Europe to take its share of asylum seekers
Volunteers aboard the Mare Jonio pulled the migrants -- reportedly including 12 minors -- off a dinghy some 40 nautical miles off the coast of the north African country.
"Good luck & thank you. We hope the disembarkation outside of Libya will be faster than what we witnessed before," tweeted Vincent Cochetel, the UNHCR's special envoy for the central Mediterranean.
Should the Mare Jonio request permission to dock, and be refused, it would be the first such stand-off between the Italian government and an Italian-flagged ship.
Some 348 migrants have been brought to safety in Italy so far this year, compared to 6,161 in the same period last year.
"Despite a dangerously low SAR (search and rescue) capacity in the Mediterranean due to Italy & EU policy, people continue to risk their lives to seek safety," tweeted Doctors Without Borders.
Some 234 people have died in the Mediterranean in 2019, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
originally posted by: MisterSpock
originally posted by: Grimpachi
When their boats come into Italian waters then confiscate them.
I was thinking let them drop off their "refugees" in italy, then follow the boat out when it's empty (just the crew) and sink it.
Picking up the crew is optional.