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Sea Watch sues Italy in European rights court

The Sea Watch 3 ship has been unable to reach a European port for weeks due to governments refusing to take in the migrants it is carrying. The situation on board has become critical, warned the German NGO Sea Watch III carrying migrants off the coast of Italy

Sea Watch sues Italy in European rights court

The Sea Watch 3 ship has been unable to reach a European port for weeks due to governments refusing to take in the migrants it is carrying. The situation on board has become critical, warned the German NGO Sea Watch III carrying migrants off the coast of Italy

Sea Watch sues Italy in European rights court
30 January 2019 - 09:45

Sea Watch sues Italy in European rights court

The Sea Watch 3 ship has been unable to reach a European port for weeks due to governments refusing to take in the migrants it is carrying. The situation on board has become critical, warned the German NGO Sea Watch III carrying migrants off the coast of Italy

Sea Watch, a German non-governmental organization, lodged an urgent complaint against Italy with the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) on Monday after a ship it runs, the Sea Watch 3, was barred from docking several EU countries.

Sea Watch 3, which rescued 47 migrants north of the Libyan port of Zuwarah, has been unable to make land for over a week.

The Berlin-based NGO has launched interim measures "in the name of the crew and one rescued individual," said spokesman Ruben Neugebauer.

"We can no longer accept that the European states are jointly breaking the law of the sea and we cannot accept that sea rescue is made conditional on EU negotiations," Neugebauer said in a statement sent to German news agency DPA.

Stuck on the water

Sea Watch 3, a vessel which carries a Dutch flag, entered Italian waters on Friday but has been unable to dock. Italy has blocked several rescue vessels, in part due to EU countries failing to agree on a migrant redistribution solution.

EU rules require the country in which migrants land to take responsibility for dealing with asylum claims. But Italy argues that the Netherlands should be legally responsible for the vessel because it is "flying the flag of that country."

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