Italy’s interior minister is threatening to file charges against the crew of a migrant rescue ship that has been barred from docking at an Italian port.
The Sea-Watch 3 has been anchored off the coast of Sicily since last Thursday after rescuing 47 migrants in the Mediterranean Sea several days earlier. The ship was allowed to anchor there to escape threatening weather.
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has refused to open Italy’s ports to the ship so it can let the migrants off. Salvini, the leader of the ruling far-right League party, has adopted a policy of preventing ships who have rescued migrants adrift on the Mediterranean from docking at Italian ports.
Salvini has accused the crew of the Sea-Watch 3, operated by the German humanitarian group Sea-Watch, of engaging in human trafficking.
A group of Italian lawmakers boarded the Sea-Watch 3 Sunday to inspect the conditions on the vessel and assess the condition of the migrants. They found just one bathroom for all 47 migrants, who are suffering from exhaustion.
Francesco Rocca, the president of International Red Cross, issued a statement Monday calling on the Italian government to allow the Sea-Watch 3 to dock and allow the migrants “to disembark and access the help they need. They are human beings, not numbers.”