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Italian police seize German rescue ship, will disembark over 100 migrants

Italian police seize German rescue ship, will disembark over 100 migrants

Italian police on Monday seized a German migrant rescue ship that had been stranded at sea for a week, and will disembark more than 100 migrants soon, according to a police spokesman.

The ship’s captain had earlier set course for the port of Pozzallo, on the island of Sicily, sparking a new standoff between rescuers and Italy’s interior minister, and just as he looks set to lose his job, Reuters reported.

Last week, Minister Matteo Salvini signed a decree banning the ‘Eleonore’ from entering Italian waters, as part of his closed-door policy on migrants arriving by boat from north Africa. “The ship was seized,” a spokesman for Italy’s financial police confirmed in Rome.

The captain of the ‘Eleonore’, Claus-Peter Reisch, tweeted on Monday that Italian authorities were on board. He had earlier said he'd decided to enter Italian waters and head for shelter because of storms. The ship is operated by the German charity Mission Lifeline.