Italian conservative Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has called on migrant taxi NGOs to stop their “ferry service” in the Mediterranean after enacting new stricter rules on how the NGOs operate.
Prime Minister Meloni released a statement on social media regarding the new regulations for migrant taxi NGO vessels saying, “the Italy that pretends not to see who systematically violates the rules is over.”
“International law does not provide that there is someone who can make a ferry in the Mediterranean or in any other sea, and go back and forth to transfer people from one country to another,” Prime Minister Meloni said, the newspaper Il Giornale reports.
“The rules want to limit the rescue of migrants to what is required by international law, with some fairly simple rules: if you come across a boat and rescue people you have to bring them to safety, so you do not keep them on board by continuing to do other multiple rescues until the ship is full. Otherwise, in this case, it is not the accidental rescue of the shipwrecked,” she added.
The new regulations, which came into effect this week, demand that migrant taxi NGO ships drop off migrants after their first rescue and that those violating the policy could face heavy fines or even have their vessels seized by Italian authorities.
“There must be consistency between the activities that some ships carry out in the Mediterranean and what they are registered for. Commercial ships that go back and forth to rescue migrants is something that is quite jarring,” Meloni said.