The Italian authorities have issued another order of administrative detention in the Sicilian port of Augusta for the migrant rescue ship Sea Watch 3 after the coast guard found a number of irregularities.
On Sunday (March 21), Italian authorities announced that the German NGO ship Sea-Watch 3 had been placed under administrative detention in the Sicilian port of Augusta. The decision follows an inspection onboard the ship by the Italian coast guard that found a number of irregularities,
The ship, which arrived in the port on March 3 carrying 385 people rescued off Libya, had been authorized to transport a maximum of only 22 people.
Coast Guard cites issues for detention
Among the elements that led to the inspection, the coast guard said, was the "the lack of preventative communications for entrance into the Augusta port for maritime security" as well as "refusals in the most recent sailing period".
It added that the Sea Watch 3 had, while anchoring in the port, spilled hydraulic oil in port waters.
The inspection confirmed the irregularities that emerged in the entering of the port and showed "further issues with regards to safety at sea, anti-fire measures onboard, and protection of the environment and the crew, which led to the administrative detention of the ship."
Criticism from Sea-Watch 3
"Again, we are accused of having rescued too many people. The alternative: Letting 363 people drown, as EU authorities are turning a blind eye, not showing any efforts to closing the rescue gap" in the Mediterranean Sea, the NGO wrote on Twitter.
"The politically motivated use of port state controls by Italian authorities to block civil rescue ships has only just been questioned by Palermo's Administrative Court, who freed #SeaWatch4 while awaiting a decision by the European Court of Justice," it added, referring to a decision by the judiciary that allowed the Sea Watch 4 ship to sail again after being stopped for six months.