NGO Tells Salvini They Will Never Land ‘Rescued’ Migrants in Nearby Libya

A picture shows the Sea-Eye rescue ship named after Alan Kurdi during its inauguration in Palma de Mallorca on February 10, 2019. - The former research vessel 'Professor Albrecht Penck' was rebaptised 'Alan Kurdi', after the Syrian boy who was drowned during a ship wreck in the Mediterranean Sea. (Photo …

After picking up 40 migrants, the NGO Sea-Eye has challenged Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini, saying they will never return migrants to Libya.

The defiant NGO addressed the populist League leader in comments reported by Il Giornale, saying: “We will obey international law and we will not bring anyone back to a country at war. Libya is not a safe haven.”

Salvini was quick to reply to the NGO saying: “The ship Alan Kurdi, currently 30 miles from the coasts of Libya, REFUSED the port of Tripoli assigned to it by the Libyan Coast Guard.”

“Here we are again, a German NGO which doesn’t care about the international authorities. I won’t give up!” Salvini added.

The comments from the German-based NGO come after the interior minister reiterated that the Italian ports were closed to migrant transport vessels, telling the ship to drop the migrants off in Tunisia, which is far closer to the area where they are collected than Sicily or mainland Italy.


Earlier this week, German interior minister Horst Seehofer requested that Salvini open the ports to NGOs, arguing that many have landed in Italy anyway after days of negotiations.

Salvini, who has always tried to ensure that other EU member-states have agreed to take in any migrants which do land in Italy prior to bringing them ashore, rejected the German’s call, saying: “We are not opening anything, the ports remain closed.”

This week also saw the landing of 116 migrants who were picked up by an Italian coastguard vessel, the Gregoretti, after a deal was made to redistribute them to six countries across Europe, including France and Germany.

Italian authorities announced on Thursday that two of the migrants aboard the vessel had been arrested on suspicion of being human traffickers. The Ragusa police said the two men, from Senegal and Gambia, are under investigation for aiding illegal migration.

They added that they were also searching through a second group of migrants picked up by the coastguard to determine if any human traffickers were among those migrants as well.

Several members of migrant transport NGOs are facing similar charges, including ship captain Pia Klemp and captain Carola Rackete of Sea-Watch.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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