Italian coastguard blocks ‘Sea-Watch 3’ migrant rescue ship in Sicily port
Italy’s coastguard on Friday blocked the ‘Sea-Watch 3’ migrant rescue ship in the port of Catania, citing safety and environmental concerns. The move will delay the vessel’s plans to return to patrolling the Libyan coastline. After a long standoff with the Italian government, the Dutch-flagged vessel, run by a German charity, was allowed on Thursday to disembark 47 migrants it had rescued at sea on January 19 in the Sicilian port. Coastguard inspectors who boarded the ‘Sea-Watch’ on found “irregularities” relating to safety and environmental standards, Reuters reported. “Until they are resolved, the vessel cannot leave the Catania port,” the coastguard said. Italy’s government has closed ports to the charity ships and insists that migrants be redistributed among EU states.