Stand off between Sea-Watch 3 and Italian authorities continues outside Lampedusa port

42 migrants on board the Sea-Watch 3 have spent 15 days on board the ship • Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini says 'desperate times call for desperate measures'

The crew and 42 rescued migrants have spent another 24 hours on-board Sea-Watch 3 inside Italian territorial waters after the ship was denied access to disembark. 

On Wednesday, ship captain Carola Rackete defied the Italian blockade and directed the Sea-Watch into Italian territorial waters. The ship is now outside the port of Lampedusa after it was stopped by two Italian Coast Guard boats three miles from the port.

The migrants have been on the ship for two weeks after being rescued off Libya.

Reacting to the actions taken by Sea-Watch 3, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini described their actions as a deliberate attempt to force Europe to take in migrants. 

Sea-Watch 3 captain Carola Rackete
Sea-Watch 3 captain Carola Rackete

Salvini accused the EU of "disinterest and abandonment towards Italy". He said that if this attitude continued he would have no issue with not identifying the migrants who arrived. This action would mean that personal details of migrants will not be entered into the European database. "So they will be free to go where they please,” Salvini threatened, adding that "desperate times call for desperate measures.”

Meanwhile, the 42 migrants on board had another night of disappointment after the European Court of Human Rights rejected their appeal to allow them to disembark in Italy.

Rackete said that all aboard were now exhausted after spending many days at sea. She said that it was now up to the Italian and European authorities, to find a way to resolve the situation.

Rackete and her crew could face a €50,000 fine, criminal action and the confiscation of the vessel as a result of Italy’s harsh law.

READ MORE: Italian coast guard boards Sea-Watch 3 as captain defies the port blockade

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