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BREAKING: Aid ship captain arrested after defying Italian government and docking at Italian port with immigrants

PortandTerminal.com, June 29, 2019

A Dutch-flagged charity rescue ship with 40 migrants on board has defied authorities and docked in the port of the Italian island of Lampedusa after being at sea for more than two weeks.

Lampedusa, Italy – Carola Rackete, the captain of the Dutch-registered ship carrying 40 migrants who had been rescued from near certain death in the Mediterranean, was arrested at the Italian port of Lampedusa after a two-week stand-off with police at sea.

The Dutch-flagged Sea Watch 3 had been stuck in the Mediterranean, during a blistering heat wave, since rescuing 53 migrants drifting in an inflatable raft off the coast of Libya on June 12th. The most vulnerable people were evacuated, but Italy’s hardline Interior Minister Matteo Salvini insisted the rest were unwelcome.

Conditions on the rescue ship were becoming increasingly difficult for the migrants who had been rescued over two weeks earlier at sea

Playing to his loyal anti-immigration base, Salvini called the Sea Watch a “pirate ship” and refused to let the vessel dock.

The stand-off became an international saga. Italy demanding the Netherlands take responsibility for the migrants, given that the Sea Watch sails under a Dutch flag, while the U.N.’s refugee agency and the EU have urged Rome to end the stalemate by allowing the migrants to disembark.

During the stand-off the Sea Watch was forced to zig-zag off the shore of the port in Lampedusa for over two weeks

Who is Carola Rackete?

After two weeks at sea, the dreadlocked captain of the Sea Watch is 31-year-old Carola Rakete who has become a symbol of defiance for challenging the authority of minister Matteo Salvini, who is known as ‘Il Capitano’ at home for closing ports to non-government rescue ships.

We are proud of our captain, she did exactly the right thing. She upheld the law of the sea and brought people to safety.

#SeaWatch Chairman Johannes Bayer

Carola Rakete describes who she is and her motivations for what she did in a Tweet on June 26th.

Rackete was cuffed by police for refusing to obey a military vessel, after manoeuvring the ship into port without permission, a crime punishable by between three and 10 years in jail.

Italy’s far-right deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini has accused the captain of a ship carrying rescued migrants of trying to sink a police boat.

Carola Rakete being lead off of her ship Sea Watch 3 after being arrested last night

A sick 19-year-old migrant and his young brother were evacuated on June 27 from the Sea-Watch rescue boat banned by Italy from docking on the island of Lampedusa, as another 40 migrants are still onboard. The stand-off between Sea-Watch 3 and the Italian authorities escalated on June 26 when the vessel entered Italian waters despite a threat of hefty fines from far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. (Photo by Handout / Sea Watch / AFP)

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