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Hundreds of Migrants Left Floating at Sea After Italy Closes Borders (Again)

Marina Militare/Handout via Reuters

ROME—The S.O.S. call came in on Tuesday as Italy’s new far-right prime minister Giorgia Meloni was addressing parliament. Two wooden fishing boats with a combined load of around 1,300 migrants and refugees need to be rescued between Italy and Malta. Twelve people were already dead due to dehydration. Several had jumped overboard. The engines had long ceased to work and supplies of drinking water and food were nearly depleted.

As various humanitarian organizations reached out to Italian and Maltese coast guards with details about how to find the listing vessels, Meloni’s new Interior minister Matteo Piantedosi announced that borders were closed to NGO rescue ships. That meant the Norwegian-flagged Ocean Viking and German-flagged Humanity I—already laden with a combined 300 rescued people on board from other sinking ships—would not be allowed to enter Italian waters because they were breaking the law and not “in line with the spirit of European and Italian rules on border security and control and on combating illegal immigration.”

And since the rescue vessels cannot disembark the migrants and refugees they have already rescued, they certainly have no space to rescue 1,300 more people, even if they could reach them before it’s too late.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Source: Hundreds of Migrants Left Floating at Sea After Italy Closes Borders (Again)

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