Under a new amendment to the second security and immigration decree in Italy, NGO skippers will be arrested if they fail to obey the orders of police or navy ships. In addition, NGO-run migrant rescue ships will be fined up to one million euros for defying a ban on entering Italian waters.
The amendment to the second security and immigration decree was introduced to Parliament two weeks ago by the far-right League party headed by Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. Under the amendment, NGO skippers will be arrested if they fail to obey orders of police or navy ships. The proposed changes have yet to be approved.
The new measures come after Sea-Watch 3 captain Carola Rackete entered the port of Lampedusa defying Salvini's closed ports policy. Rackete said her decision to land 40 migrants was due to the fact that some of the migrants on board had threatened suicide 17 days after being picked up off the Libyan coast.
He arrest for flouting the ban and allegedly ramming a police boat was not upheld in a ruling that angered Salvini supporters.
Sea-Watch3 captain Carola Rackete was questioned in Agrigento last week on suspicion of aiding illegal immigration and refusing to obey a navy ship. Leaving the prosecutor's office, she appealed for all countries to take in rescued migrants.
Fines to double
The second security and immigration decree adopted in mid-June first introduced fines for non-governmental organizations, stating that NGOs could have to pay between €10,000 and €50,000 ($11,327 – $56,638) for transporting rescued migrants to Italian ports.
Rescuers who repeatedly dock without authorization risk having their vessel permanently impounded
. The fines would be payable by the captain, the operator and the owner of the rescue ship. The new amendment, if approved, would increase the fines by up to 50 percent.