Last night in the port of Pozzallo, where the ship was ready to set sail for her mission in the Central Mediterranean, Maritime Authorities REFUSED two members of Mediterranea Saving Humans’ Rescue Team (a rescue paramedic and a search and rescue expert) PERMISSION to embark the Mare Jonio.
This is but the latest in a series of measures enacted by various authorities since last May, when Mare Jonio resumed its activity at sea after the forced suspension due to the “lockdown”. Since the departure on June 9th from the port of Trapani, Mediterranea’s ship has received four official “Warnings” against the Captain and the Shipowner for “pre-ordering the activities of execution of rescue operations in a stable and organized way of the aforementioned tugboat. ” The threat of legal consequences, contained in the Warnings, was followed by the opening of two judicial proceedings by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Ragusa against our Captains and our Shipowner who are accused of “failing to comply with the prescriptions ordered by the Authorities” because of the rescue of 67 people on June 19th and the disembarkation of the 27 people rescued on board the merchant ship Maersk Etienne on September 12th.
This is blatantly a targeted administrative and judicial persecution, rooted in the clear political will of the Government to send out a clear and terrible message, with an equally deadly objective. As with the “administrative detention” issued to the other ships and to the airplanes of the European Civil Society, the Government’s message is that “RESCUE IS PROHIBITED” when it comes to human lives in peril of death at sea. The Government’s goal is to obstruct and hinder the actual presence at sea of all the civil organizations which carry out observation, monitoring and rescue missions. They want to eliminate any inconvenient witnesses of the daily human rights violations that are a result of the European government policies and financing.
As of today, implementation of these policies is keeping Mare Jonio’s mission activities in the Mediterranean on hold. In other words, the most lethal sea border in the world has been deprived of a ship which, in almost two years, rescued hundreds of people – women, men and children. By bringing them to European safe ports, Mare Jonio spared them the fate of drowning at sea or being deported to Libya.
We do not intend to surrender to the inhumanity and the cynicism of these political choices. Our Lawyers are already working on appeals against the arbitrary and illegitimate regulations that have affected the Mare Jonio. With the support of thousands of citizens who are with us, we will do all that is possible to return to sea as soon as possible, together with other ships and airplanes of the European Civil Fleet.
MEDITERRANEA Saving Humans