Italy suspends NGO ship for rescuing migrants in Mediterranean
The Ocean Viking, a vessel operated by French-based non-governmental group SOS Mediterranee, has been temporarily suspended by Italian authorities for carrying out multiple rescue operations said to be in violation of Italian law.
The vessel arrived at the Port of Brindisi in southeastern Italy to disembark rescued individuals.
But upon its arrival, the Brindisi Port Authority imposed a 20-day suspension on the Ocean Viking for its involvement in multiple rescue operations at sea, which were said to contravene Italian regulations.
As a result of the suspension, the NGO ship is prohibited from leaving the port during this period.
This move was implemented by the coalition government led by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, which took power in Italy in October 2022.
One such regulation, commonly known as the NGO law, was passed by the Meloni government in early 2023.
This legislation mandates that NGO ships, following their initial rescue operation, must promptly proceed to a designated port to disembark rescued individuals without engaging in further rescue operations.
The law has sparked criticism from human rights groups, which argue that it unfairly limits the activities of NGOs engaged in rescue operations in the Mediterranean.