A boat intercepted by the Porto Empedocle financial police in the waters off the Realmonte municipality, after several Tunisians had disembarked from the vessel | Photo: ANSA/ UFFICIO STAMPA GUARDIA FINANZA
A boat intercepted by the Porto Empedocle financial police in the waters off the Realmonte municipality, after several Tunisians had disembarked from the vessel | Photo: ANSA/ UFFICIO STAMPA GUARDIA FINANZA

The latest stand-off between the Open Arms ship and the Italian authorities gained a lot of political and international attention. But while the private rescue boat was still waiting for an open port, several small migrant boats quietly landed in Italy – despite Salvini's "closed ports" policy.

On Tuesday evening, the Open Arms migrant rescue ship finally got permission to dock in Lampedusa, after Italian prosecutors essentially overruled Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

During the stand-off between the well-known rescue ship and Italian officials, "ghost landings" continued on Lampedusa and in Sicily. While prominent NGO rescue boats have garnered a lot of attention from politicians and the media, these smaller migrant arrivals in southern Italy attract much less attention. 

Here's an overview of recent "ghost landings": 

During the night between Sunday and Monday, 16 migrants arrived from Tunisia on a small boat and were intercepted by a financial police patrol boat a few miles from Lampedusa. 

Another small vessel with 37 migrants on board was rescued on Monday morning by another financial police patrol boat. 

Boat with migrants land on Sciacca beach 

Another landing occurred on Sunday night on Sciacca beach near Agrigento in Sicily. The carabinieri (Italy's military police) detained 11 migrants who claimed to be of Tunisian origin. No trace was found of the boat used to cross the Mediterranean Sea and the carabinieri say that some other migrants may have managed to escape. 

57 arrived on Lampedusa on Saturday 

On Saturday, while Interior Minister Matteo Salvini told the Open Arms boat once again that Italy had a "closed ports" policy, a financial police patrol boat intercepted a boat carrying 57 migrants in the waters off the small island of Lampione, near Lampedusa. Those migrants were taken onboard the financial police and coast guard vessels and then transported to the Favarolo wharf. 

Among them was a boy with health problems who was put on a stretcher by doctors. The financial police had spotted the boat and conducted the rescue operation alongside the port authorities. 

 

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