The landing of a little boy, among 10 people authorized to leave the Sea-Watch for Lampedusa, in an image posted by the NGO on its Twitter feed. | Credit: Sea Watch
The landing of a little boy, among 10 people authorized to leave the Sea-Watch for Lampedusa, in an image posted by the NGO on its Twitter feed. | Credit: Sea Watch

Retired Rear Admiral Vittorio Alessandro, who served as the Italian Coast Guard spokesman from 2010 to 2013 - years when thousands of migrants landed on Lampedusa - said he is convinced that taking migrants from the Sea Watch migrant rescue ship back to Tripoli in Libya would "constitute an infraction of international laws."

Taking migrants rescued at sea by the Sea-Watch 3 back to Tripoli in Libya would "constitute an infraction of international laws" according to Italian retired Rear Admiral Vittorio Alessandro. The official served as the spokesperson for the Italian Coast Guard from 2010 to 2013. During those years, in which Alessandro was the head of the Coast Guard's external relations office, thousands of migrants landed on the island of Lampedusa.

Alessandro's experience gives him the ability to speak knowledgeably abut the migrant issue and about what to do in the case of a rescue at sea. 

'Tripoli is not a safe port'

"International laws require the transfer of the migrants to a safe port, and Tripoli is not one, which Salvini himself admitted," Alessandro stated in his Facebook column 'Puntonave,' where he has previously criticized measures taken by Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. 

Alessandro called the first directive issued by the interior ministry to stop NGOs in the Mediterranean "anomalous, clearly illegal and flawed by the abuse of power." He said that if the Sea-Watch 3, which is currently in international waters about 20 miles off Lampedusa, were to carry out Salvini's and the Italian government's orders, "it would also contravene the rule that bans collective refoulement," because to be sent back could be an infringement of the groups' human rights.  

'If there are terrorists, they should be arrested' 

Alessandro said it's clear that all of those rescued "are waiting, like all shipwrecked people, just to find land again, having escaped from the one they were in." This doesn't necessarily mean that all migrants have good intentions, however, he added. "If there are possible terrorists among them, then they should be arrrested; the law doesn't allow for other routes."  He believes that the 'Security Decree' brought into force in Autumn 2018 does offer alternatives to what has been happening lately but they just "haven't been enacted yet."
 

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