Sunday, April 19, 2009

Italy Blocks Cargo Ship Carrying Rescued Migrants

A 15-year-old girl among 154 migrants on board a Turkish owned cargo ship being refused landing by both the Maltese and Italian authorities has been airlifted to Lampedusa because she was in need of assistance. The Panamian flagged Pinar E, currently some 25 nautical miles off Lampedusa, picked up the migrants 41 nautical miles off Lampedusa (114 from Malta) on Thursday. It was refused entry into Italian waters by the Italian authorities, who are insisting the migrants should be brought to Malta, which is responsible for the search and rescue region.
The Pinar E which currently has 154 immigrants on board, some of whom have taken over the engine room.
Malta is insisting, however, that in terms of international conventions, the migrants have to be landed at the nearest safe port, which in this case is Lampedusa. The sources said that a number of the migrants on board the ship required treatment. Some of them were to be airlifted to Lampedusa later today and a pregnant woman was draped and put on a lifeboat. Meanwhile conflicting reports are being received about the situation of the 154 migrants on board. These include that some of the migrants had taken over the engine room and barricaded themselves in it. Other sources denied that this was the case.

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