Ocean Viking’ disembarks nearly 400 migrants in Italy

The rescue ship ‘Ocean Viking’, of the NGO SOS Meditérranée, has disembarked this Monday 387 women, children and men after receiving permission to dock in the Neapolitan port of Salerno, in Italy, the organization has learned.

Hours earlier, the president of the Campania region, Vincenzo De Luca, had ordered to block the disembarkation and to decree a state of quarantine on board after detecting “the presence of a large number of COVID-19 positives,” as reported by Rai News.

However, permission is still pending for the ‘Geo Barents’, a ship operated by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which has 660 refugees on board, of which 150 are minors. “Seven requests to disembark in a safe place were sent to the Italian authorities and 3 to Malta. No positive response so far,” MSF said on its official Twitter account.

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The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled on Monday that national authorities in seaports can only immobilize NGO rescue vessels in case of risk to safety, health and the environment, a risk that the State will have to prove.

In its ruling, the Luxembourg-based court has stressed that in order to carry out such an inspection, national authorities must demonstrate that there were “serious indications of danger to “health, safety, working conditions on board or the environment.”

“The judgment gives clear legal certainty to NGOs and a victory to maritime salvage. Therefore, in the future, ships will continue to do what they do best: save people instead of being stuck randomly in port,” said the German organization ‘Sea Watch’.

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This weekend, at least 444 people were rescued by the crew of the ship ‘Sea Watch 3. “One week after the first rescue, our guests disembark in Taranto, Italy,” the organization said on Saturday.

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