00:32 GMT +320 July 2019
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    The migrant search and rescue ship Sea-Watch 3, operated by German NGO Sea-Watch, is seen off the coast of Malta in the central Mediterranean January 4, 2019.

    Salvini Plans to Sue Migrant-Rescue Ship Allegedly Supporting Illegal Migration

    © REUTERS / Darrin Zammit Lupi/File Photo
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    The Dutch-flagged migrant-rescue vessel Sea-Watch 3 has already experienced legal trouble; last year, Maltese authorities detained the ship. A German NGO called the move "a political campaign to stop civil rescue at sea".

    Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini announced on 27 January that he's started collecting incriminating evidence that would enable the top-level right-wing politician to sue a Dutch-flagged migrant rescue ship, Sea-Watch 3, that allowed 47 migrants to disembark in Italy.

    "We have concrete elements to declare that the captain and crew of the Sea Watch 3 have put the lives of those on board at risk by disobeying precise directions days ago to disembark them in the nearest port, not Italy!" he said.

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    Salvini stressed that he would provide prosecutors with proof of his claim that the captain and crew of the vessel broke the law, having "a clear desire to use these immigrants in a political battle".

    Commenting on the official's move, the Italian Interior Ministry said that he was "gathering elements to evaluate whether to press charges against the entire Sea Watch crew for favouring illegal immigration."

    This is not the first time Dutch-flagged Sea-Watch 3 vessel has come under fire — in July 2017, it was detained by Malta's authorities; Sea-Watch, a German NGO, claimed the move was "a political campaign to stop civil rescue at sea".

    The European Union has been experiencing a large-scale migration crisis since 2015 due to the influx of thousands of migrants and refugees fleeing crises and economic privation in their home countries in the Middle East and Africa. These migrants are attempting to reach the EU states which provide generously for asylum seekers through various routes, including via Italy, Greece, Turkey and the Balkans.


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