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Italy seize German rescue ship Eleonore

Christian Fernsby |
Italian police on Monday seized a German migrant rescue ship that had been stranded at sea for a week with more than 100 migrants aboard, and will disembark the migrants soon.

Topics: ITALY    GERMAN    SHIP   

The ship’s captain had earlier set course for the port of Pozzallo, on the island of Sicily, sparking a new standoff between rescuers and Italy’s interior minister just as he looks set to lose his job.

“The ship was seized and migrants will be disembarked around midday (1000 GMT),” said a spokesman for Italy’s financial police in Rome, which is dealing with the case.

The Eleonore’s captain, Claus-Peter Reisch, tweeted on Monday that Italian authorities were on board.

He had earlier said he had decided to enter Italian waters and head for shelter because of storms.

“After eight days of waiting for a safe harbour, after countless attempts to convince states to care for 104 people, tonight the weather has decided,” he tweeted.

“I need to declare Eleonore a case of emergency due to the life-threatening situation on board.”

The ship is operated by the German charity Mission Lifeline.

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