An Italian coastguard vessel was stranded in the Mediterranean Sea with more than 130 illegal migrants aboard after the Italian government refused to let 130 illegal migrants to disembark in Sicily. The authorities, however, later allowed the vessel to dock in the Sicilian port of Augusta and have already evacuated several of those onboard who needed immediate medical attention, including a woman who is seven-months pregnant woman, her two children, and her partner.
“The Gregoretti berthed in the port of Augusta overnight, as is the normal procedure for a military vessel. Now the EU has to act because the migration question concerns the whole continent,” said the Italian Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli said in a statement.
The ship took part in a rescue operation at the weekend after 115 other migrants drowned off the coast of Libya. the deadliest event in 2019, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has taken a hard line against illegal migrants rescued at sea and has blocked recent moves by the EU to have them settled in Italy.
The European Commission will “support and coordinate among those that are willing to participate in solidarity efforts,” said a Commission official.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced last Monday that 14 EU members have approved a plan to redistribute refugees rescued in the Mediterranean, with eight countries saying they would actively take part.