Migrant Transport NGO Expects Italian Port Access for New Vessel

The new Sea-Watch 4 ship is pictured on August 7, 2020 in the port of Burriana, where it is carrying maintenance operations before leaving on its first mission. - The NGO Sea Watch announced its partnership with Doctors without Borders on the Sea-Watch 4 ship to provide medical care to …
JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images

The German NGO Sea-Watch expects Italy to allow it access to a port as it launches its latest transport vessel, the Sea-Watch 4.

The new ship is set to take to the Mediterranean sea and head for the search and rescue (SAR) zone off the coast of Libya as early as this weekend. The NGO purchased it thanks to a crowdfunding campaign promoted by the German Evangelical Church.

Jacob Framann, an Austrian national and member of the ship’s crew, said according to Il Giornale: “We assume that sooner or later we will be assigned an Italian port. In theory, it might as well be Malta, but in recent months the country has resisted massively.”

When asked his motivation for taking part in the mission, Framann said: “Among other things, I studied theology and am here partly from Christian motivation. I feel uncomfortable when politicians want to isolate Europe. This is in blatant contradiction to Christian values.”

The new mission will also see the NGO partner with Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières/MSF) which previously partnered with the French NGO SOS Méditerranée that operates the Ocean Viking transport ship.

The relationship between MSF and the French NGO soured earlier this year over disagreements on operations during the coronavirus pandemic, with MSF wanting to continue picking up migrants while SOS Méditerranée suspended operations.

The launch of the Sea-Watch 4 comes just over a month since the group’s previous vessel, the Sea-Watch 3, was seized by the Italian government over several ship “irregularities” on board.

The ship and its crew had dropped off migrants just weeks prior, with at least 28 of them testing positive for the Wuhan coronavirus.

The new NGO activity will likely aid the fresh wave of migrants arriving in Italy, which has overwhelmed the island of Lampedusa and seen many migrants test positive for the Chinese virus.

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


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