Italy has shut its port against a humanitarian a ship carrying over 600 African migrants - The country asked Malta to open its doors for the ship, but Malta has insisted that its doors will remain shut - Malta's refusal is premised on the fact that the rescue operation took place in international waters off Libya and were coordinated by Italy Officials of the government of Italy have said that Italy will refuse to let a humanitarian ship ferrying over 600 migrants dock at its ports.
The officials said the government asked the Mediterranean Island of Malta to open its doors to the vessel but Malta refused on the basis that it has nothing to do with the rescue operation, Reuters report.
Italy's new interior minister, Matteo Salvini, is on the path of keeping his electoral promises to stop the flow of migrants into the country.
He wrote on his Facebook wall that: “Malta takes in nobody. France pushes people back at the border, Spain defends its frontier with weapons.
From today, Italy will also start to say no to human trafficking, no to the business of illegal immigration.” “My aim is to guarantee a peaceful life for these youths in Africa and for our children in Italy. We are shutting the ports." However, the mayor of Naples said he would welcome in the humanitarian boat”.
He said: “Naples is ready, without funds, to save lives." According to European charity SOS Mediterranee, its rescue boat Aquarius had taken on board 629 migrants, including 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 other children and seven pregnant women.
The charity, who said the boat is now heading north towards a secure port, stated that the group of mainly sub-Saharan Africans were picked up in six different rescue operations off the coast of Libya and included hundreds who were plucked from the sea by Italian naval units and then transferred to the Aquarius.
A statement signed by Salvini and transport minister, Danilo Toninelli, said: “The island cannot continue looking the other way when it comes to respecting international conventions." According to Malta, the rescue operations took place in international waters off Libya and were coordinated by Italy. The government of Malta said in a brief statement: “Malta is neither the competent nor the coordinating authority in this case. Malta will observe prevailing laws."