The NGO rescue ship Alan Kurdi at the port of Olbia, Italy | Photo: ANSA/Gian Mario Sias
The NGO rescue ship Alan Kurdi at the port of Olbia, Italy | Photo: ANSA/Gian Mario Sias

The migrant rescue ship Alan Kurdi left the Italian island of Sardinia for Spain on Wednesday, after being seized by Italian authorities last year.

After being docked for seven months at the port of Olbia, the Alan Kurdi left Sardinia on Wednesday afternoon. It is now headed for a shipyard in Burriana, Spain, where the ship operated by German NGO Sea-Eye will undergo an inspection and maintenance works.

In early April of this year, the regional administrative court (TAR) granted authorisation for the ship to leave Italy to travel to Spain. According to a statement issued by Sea-Eye, the judge ruled that the ship should no longer be detained, because it could suffer "severe financial damage" and "further damage of a complex nature" if not allowed to transfer to Spain for its biyearly inspection and maintenance works.

Alan Kurdi impounded due to 'safety issues'

The Alan Kurdi docked in Olbia last September, with 125 migrants aboard, after a rescue mission in the Mediterranean Sea. In early October, the ship was seized by local authorities, citing safety issues, following an inspection by the Coast Guard in Olbia. This impoundment came just five months after Italian authorities kept the boat from setting sail in May 2020, also citing safety issues.

Sea-Eye has repeatedly criticized the decision by Italian authorities to impound the Alan Kurdi as politically motivated, citing that German and Spanish authorities had declared the ship safe. Meanwhile, Italian authorities have accused German authorities of not being strict enough in their monitoring of German-flagged rescue ships. (Several of the private rescue ship's operating in the Mediterranean are operating under the German flag, including Sea-Watch 4, Sea-Eye 4 and Alan Kurdi.)


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