Listen to 97.3 KIRO Newsradio: NOW! Seahawks vs. Raiders gameday coverage

Italy backs down on 3 migrant ships, 4th heads to Corsica

Nov 8, 2022, 12:29 PM | Updated: Nov 9, 2022, 10:50 am
A migrant is registered before disembarking from the Norway-flagged Geo Barents rescue ship after h...

A migrant is registered before disembarking from the Norway-flagged Geo Barents rescue ship after having been allowed by Italian authorities, in Catania's port, Sicily, southern Italy, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. While the Geo Barents was allowed to disembark all its migrants, the German-flagged Humanity1 is still at harbor in Catania with 35 aboard still waiting for permission, and another rescue ship, the Ocean Viking is appealing France for a safe port. (AP Photo/Massimo Di Nonno)

(AP Photo/Massimo Di Nonno)

              A migrant is registered before disembarking from the Norway-flagged Geo Barents rescue ship after having been allowed by Italian authorities, in Catania's port, Sicily, southern Italy, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. While the Geo Barents was allowed to disembark all its migrants, the German-flagged Humanity1 is still at harbor in Catania with 35 aboard still waiting for permission, and another rescue ship, the Ocean Viking is appealing France for a safe port. (AP Photo/Massimo Di Nonno)
            
              Migrants disembark from the Norway-flagged Geo Barents rescue ship after having been allowed by Italian authorities, in Catania's port, Sicily, southern Italy, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. While the Geo Barents was allowed to disembark all its migrants, the German-flagged Humanity1 is still at harbor in Catania with 35 aboard still waiting for permission, and another rescue ship, the Ocean Viking is appealing France for a safe port. (AP Photo/Massimo Di Nonno)
            
              Migrants disembark from the Norway-flagged Geo Barents rescue ship after having been allowed by Italian authorities, in Catania's port, Sicily, southern Italy, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. While the Geo Barents was allowed to disembark all its migrants, the German-flagged Humanity1 is still at harbor in Catania with 35 aboard still waiting for permission, and another rescue ship, the Ocean Viking is appealing France for a safe port. (AP Photo/Massimo Di Nonno)
            
              Migrants disembark from the Norway-flagged Geo Barents rescue ship after having been allowed by Italian authorities, in Catania's port, Sicily, southern Italy, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. While the Geo Barents was allowed to disembark all its migrants, the German-flagged Humanity1 is still at harbor in Catania with 35 aboard still waiting for permission, and another rescue ship, the Ocean Viking is appealing France for a safe port. (AP Photo/Salvatore Cavalli)
            
              Migrants prepare to disembark from the Norway-flagged Geo Barents rescue ship after having been allowed by Italian authorities, in Catania's port, Sicily, southern Italy, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. While the Geo Barents was allowed to disembark all its migrants, the German-flagged Humanity1 is still at harbor in Catania with 35 aboard still waiting for permission, and another rescue ship, the Ocean Viking is appealing France for a safe port. (AP Photo/Massimo Di Nonno)
            
              Migrants disembark from the Norway-flagged Geo Barents rescue ship after having been allowed by Italian authorities, in Catania's port, Sicily, southern Italy, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. While the Geo Barents was allowed to disembark all its migrants, the German-flagged Humanity1 is still at harbor in Catania with 35 aboard still waiting for permission, and another rescue ship, the Ocean Viking is appealing France for a safe port. (AP Photo/Massimo Di Nonno)
            
              One of the three men who had jumped into the sea on Monday from the humanitarian ship Geo Barents, which is docked at the Catania's harbor, in Sicily, Italy, receives medical attention, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. In desperation, two Syrian men jumped into the sea, and a third man went in after trying to save them. They were all pulled to safety and spent the night on the dock. (AP Photo/Salvatore Cavalli)
            
              One of the three men who had jumped into the sea on Monday from the humanitarian ship Geo Barents, which is docked at the Catania's harbor, in Sicily, Italy, lies out of strength on the dock , Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. In desperation, two Syrian men jumped into the sea, and a third man went in after trying to save them. They were all pulled to safety and spent the night on the dock. (AP Photo/Salvatore Cavalli)
            
              One of the three men who had jumped into the sea on Monday from the humanitarian ship Geo Barents, which is docked at the Catania's harbor, in Sicily, Italy, receives medical attention, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. In desperation, two Syrian men jumped into the sea, and a third man went in after trying to save them. They were all pulled to safety and spent the night on the dock. (AP Photo/Salvatore Cavalli)

ROME (AP) — A European humanitarian group said Wednesday its migrant rescue ship was heading to the French island of Corsica in hopes France will offer its 234 passengers a safe port, as a diplomatic standoff intensified after Italy relented and allowed migrants from three other rescue ships to disembark on Italian soil.

The European Commission added to the pressure to find a safe port for the Ocean Viking, issuing a statement late Wednesday demanding that the passengers — some of whom have been at sea for nearly three weeks — be allowed to immediately disembark “at the nearest place of safety.”

The statement was unusual since the Commission hasd remained quiet on the drama all week, refusing to get involved except to restate that it’s up to member countries to handle search and rescue operations and disembarkation matters, not Brussels.

Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni had jumped the gun and announced Tuesday that France had agreed to take the Ocean Viking in, even though the government had made no such pledge publicly. As of late Wednesday, France still had not offered a port, but Francesco Creazzo of the SOS Mediterranee group said the Norwegian-flagged ship was hoping it would eventually do so.

Officials in both Corsica and the French port city of Marseille said they would gladly take them in.

Meloni’s premature announcement of a French agreement prompted the French government spokesman to publicly criticize the Italian maneuvering on public radio Wednesday.

Spokesman Olivier Veran told France Info radio that the Ocean Viking “is intended to be welcomed in Italy” since it was in Italian territorial waters and said Italy’s refusal to allow passengers to disembark was “unacceptable.”

Since Italy is the top beneficiary of the European Union financial solidarity system, he demanded that “Italy plays its role and respects its European commitments.”

By late Tuesday, the remaining passengers on three other humanitarian-operated ships that Italy had initially refused to take in had disembarked at Italian ports. The last was the Humanity 1, operated by the SOS Humanity group, which disembarked its 35 passengers in the Sicilian port of Catania.

There was no immediate explanation for Italy’s U-turn, but legal experts and the humanitarian groups noted that under maritime law, all people found at sea in distress are entitled to access the closest safe port where they can then apply for asylum.

Meloni’s hard-right government had initially only allowed migrants deemed “vulnerable” to disembark, and intended to send the rest of the passengers back out to sea. But the two ships that docked at Catania for the vulnerability selection process — the Humanity 1 and the Geo Berents — refused to leave port.

Italian news reports on Wednesday quoted Meloni as telling her Brothers of Italy lawmakers that she found it “surreal” that doctors who visited the migrants on the docked ships Tuesday had declared them all fragile and at risk of psychological distress — presumably the medical determination that allowed for them all to disembark. Meloni insisted the passengers were migrants, not shipwreck survivors.

Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi had adopted measures saying the flag country of each charity-operated ship was responsible for providing a safe port, not Italy. Charity groups, however, said the measure patently violated maritime law and some had launched legal action against the government.

“We are relieved that the people can go ashore and that all those rescued from distress at sea have finally been assigned a place of safety, as required by maritime law,” said SOS Humanity’s Till Rummenhohl, who is in charge of ship operations for the Humanity 1. “However, we are appalled by the blatant disregard of the law and of human rights by Italian authorities.”

Meloni was defiant about Italy’s hard line. In the statement prematurely announcing a French decision to open its port to the Ocean Viking, she said it was important to “continue this line of European collaboration with the countries most exposed to find a shared solution.”

“The immigration emergency is a European issue and must be dealt with as such, with full respect of human rights and the principle of legality,” she said.

In Marseille, Mayor Benoit Payan urged the government in Paris to open a port to the Ocean Viking and said his city would be honored to take the migrants in.

“The castaways, children, women and men aboard the Ocean Viking, must be rescued,” he tweeted.

“France must open a port urgently and assume its responsibilities,” Payan said. “Marseille, faithful to its history, is ready.”

Corsica, too, said it was prepared to do its part.

“It’s a simple and a basic duty of humanity,” tweeted Gilles Simeoni, president of the executive council on the French Mediterranean island.

___

Surk reported from Nice, France; Lorne Cook reported from Brussels.

___

Follow AP’s global migration coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/migration

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Officers: Wellness check leads to fatal shooting in Florida

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A police officer fatally shot a man early Sunday while conducting a wellness check at a home in St. Petersburg, officials said. Just before 4 a.m. Sunday, St. Petersburg police officers responded to a report of a hit and run. Officers found the bumper of the suspect’s car at the […]
1 day ago
FILE - Jon Batiste attends the TIME100 Gala celebrating the 100 most influential people in the worl...
Associated Press

Jon Batiste to sing for Macron at Biden’s 1st state dinner

NANTUCKET, Mass. (AP) — Musician Jon Batiste is on tap to perform at President Joe Biden’s first White House state dinner on Thursday, highlighting long-standing ties between the United States and France and honoring President Emmanuel Macron. “An artist who transcends generations, Jon Batiste’s music inspires and brings people together,” said Vanessa Valdivia, a spokesperson […]
1 day ago
Fans from the United States cheer for their team during the World Cup group B soccer match between ...
Associated Press

US-England World Cup game seen by 19.98M on US television

NEW YORK (AP) — The United States’ 0-0 draw against England in the World Cup drew 19.98 million viewers for English- and Spanish-language broadcasts, the third-most watched men’s soccer game on U.S. television. The match, which kicked off at 2 p.m. EST on Friday, was seen by 15,377,000 viewers on Fox, the most for a […]
1 day ago
FILE - Chickens walk in a fenced pasture at an organic farm in Iowa on Oct. 21, 2015. Nebraska agri...
Associated Press

Bird flu prompts slaughter of 1.8M chickens in Nebraska

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska agriculture officials say another 1.8 million chickens must be killed after bird flu was found on a farm in the latest sign that the outbreak that has already prompted the slaughter of more than 50 million birds nationwide continues to spread. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture said Saturday that the […]
1 day ago
FILE - Dua Lipa attends the Clooney Foundation for Justice Albie Awards at The New York Public Libr...
Associated Press

Music superstar Dua Lipa granted Albanian citizenship

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albania’s president on Sunday granted citizenship to British pop star of Albanian origin Dua Lipa for what he said was the artist’s role in spreading Albanians’ fame internationally through her music. President Bajram Begaj said Lipa was granted citizenship ahead of Albania’s 110th anniversary of independence from the Ottoman Empire. Begaj […]
1 day ago
A youth uses his smartphone as he and a friend walk along the Malecon seawall in Havana, Cuba, Frid...
Associated Press

Cuba’s informal market finds new space on growing internet

HAVANA (AP) — In the Telegram group chat, the messages roll in like waves. “I need liquid ibuprofen and acetaminophen, please,” wrote one user. “It’s urgent, it’s for my 10-month-old baby.” Others offer medicine brought from outside of Cuba, adding, “Write to me in a direct message.” Emoji-speckled lists offer antibiotics, pregnancy tests, vitamins, rash […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
Italy backs down on 3 migrant ships, 4th heads to Corsica