Maltese authorities continue to deny permission to dock to ships carrying migrants and limit their rescue operations as much as possible, Italian Coast Guard operations chief Nicola Carlone said on Wednesday.
There is ''conflict'' between Italy and Malta concerning search and rescue operations for migrants, Carlone said during a hearing at the Schengen Committee. Every time a ship is rescued, the rear admiral added, a safe port is identified to bring the migrants to. Many times these ports are in Malta or Tunisia. ''Every time we receive a rescue call,'' Carlone said, ''we notify the closest centers. But they say no. This happened at least a couple of times with Tunisia a month ago and it often happens with Malta.''
On the issue of rescues at sea, some countries - Carlone said in referring especially to Malta - ''tend to underestimate the conditions of real danger that the boats are in in order to avoid the obligation of declaring a search and rescue operation and intervene. They simply monitor the boats until they leave their territorial waters'' in order to ''avoid intervening in the flow of migrants, who then proceed to Italy''.
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