Interior Ministry News

07 Oct 2019

Nine Dead, 22 Rescued from Migrant Boat off Sicily

At least nine people died when a boat carrying dozens of migrants sank off the coast of the island of Lampedusa, south of Sicily, Italy's coastguard said on Monday.The coastguard said rescue vessels had picked up 22 people, and search operations for other survivors were underway after an alert was received late on Sunday night that a boat carrying some 50 people was in difficulty.The U.N. migration agency said the boat had set sail from Tunisia and had been carrying Tunisian and west African migrants.Vessels from the coastguard and customs police had reached the vessel, which overturned in rough seas about six nautical miles from the coast of Lampedusa, the coastguard said in a statement.

16 Aug 2019

Migrants on Ship Center of Political Fight

A charity rescue ship carrying 134 migrants, mostly Africans, was stranded off the coast of Italy on Friday as a political battle in Rome stopped it from docking and even the medical conditions of those on board were disputed.The migrants, picked up off Libya over the last two weeks, are waiting to disembark on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa, but far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has ordered his officials not to let them do so.Salvini, who has built his popularity on a vigorous campaign against illegal immigration, is acting in defiance of his own prime minister and despite six European Union nations agreeing to take…

13 May 2019

Saudi Arms Ship Set to Leave Spanish Port

File image of Bahri-Yanbu(CREDIT MarineTraffic.com / © Jeff Thoreson

A Saudi ship, prevented by rights groups from loading an arms cargo at the French port of Le Havre on Friday, arrived at the Spanish port of Santander early on Monday and was due to leave later in the day, according to the Santander port.It was not clear what the Saudi ship was doing in Santander but the port's website said the vessel, the Bahri-Yanbu, was scheduled to set sail at 1:30 p.m. (1130 GMT). It did not say where the vessel was heading.Spain's Interior Ministry said they had no information regarding the ship.

07 Jan 2019

Six Killed as Cargo Ship Sinks Off Turkey's Coast

Pic: Turkish Navy

A cargo ship sank in rough waters off Turkey's Black Sea coast on Monday, killing six crew members including its captain, officials and media reports said.Seven other crew members were rescued  by Turkish Coast Guard teams after a Panama-flagged vessel sank in the Black Sea off Turkey's northern Samsun province.According to a statement released by the Interior Ministry, coastguard teams were dispatched off 77 miles Samsun after receiving a distress call from the Volgo Balt 214.Thirteen crew members‚Ķ

31 Dec 2018

Britain Deploys Extra Patrol Boats as Migrant Crossings Rise

Britain is recalling two patrol boats from overseas deployments to help deal with an increase in the number of migrants trying to reach the country from France, interior minister Sajid Javid said on Monday.Javid said there had been an increase in the number of migrants crossing the English Channel from France and last week he declared the situation a "major incident".On Monday, following a meeting of officials in London, he said two the additional ships would join three other vessels already working in the channel.He said 230 migrants had attempted to cross one of the world's busiest shipping lanes in December, although almost half were prevented from leaving France.The number is a tiny fraction of those regularly attempting to reach European Union territory by crossing the Mediterranean f

06 Sep 2018

Five Migrants Found Dead in Spanish Waters

Five migrants drowned and 193 were rescued in the western Mediterranean sea off the Spanish coast, the Spanish coastguard said on Thursday, after six rafts sank.Spain has become the main entry point for migrants fleeing Africa to seek a better life in Europe, overtaking Italy and Greece, as Italy's new populist government refuses to admit rescue boats.Dozens of migrants dressed in hooded white forensic suits disembarked from a rescue vessel on Thursday in the port of Motril in the southern region of Andalusia, video footage showed.Survivors from one of the rafts rescued said four other people had been lost at sea earlier in the journey…

10 Jul 2018

Italy Refuses Commercial Ship with Migrants on Board

Italy has refused to allow a commercial vessel flying an Italian flag to bring ashore rescued migrants, sticking to a hardline policy on new arrivals as it presses European allies to share the burden of hosting an influx of displaced people.A commercial ship that supplies oil platforms off the coast of Libya pulled 66 migrants to safety on Monday, but it was told not to bring them to Italy, an Interior Ministry source said.Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli, who oversees the coast guard and the country's ports, said the migrants had been transferred to an Italian coast guard vessel on Tuesday after some of them threatened the lives of the Italian crew.They will be brought to Italy…

29 Jun 2018

Libyan Coastguard: 100 migrants May Have Drowned Near Tripoli

Around 100 people are thought to have drowned from a migrant boat off Libya's western coast, a coastguard official said on Friday. The coastguard picked up 14 survivors from the boat just east of the capital, Tripoli, the official said. Separately, the coastguard said it had intercepted 200 migrants from two other migrant boats east of Tripoli. Libya is one of the main departure points for migrants trying to cross to Europe by sea, usually in flimsy inflatable boats provided by smugglers that often get punctured or break down. Some make it to international waters where they hope to be picked up by international vessels, but increasing numbers are intercepted by Libya's EU-backed coastguard and returned to Libya.

19 Jun 2018

Libya Coastguard Commander Says He Hits Migrants to Protect Them

(File photo: United Nations)

A Libyan coastguard commander sanctioned by the United Nations for alleged human trafficking and migrant smuggling said he hits migrants but does so for their own safety to prevent them from capsizing.Abdalrahman al-Milad, who heads a coastguard unit in Zawiya, just west of Tripoli, was one of six people sanctioned for involvement in people trafficking or smuggling in Libya on June 7, in the first move of its kind.The sanctions freeze bank accounts of those listed and ban them from travelling internationally…

11 Jun 2018

Italy Shuts Ports to Migrant Boat, Tells Malta to Open Its Doors

(Photo: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees)

Italy will refuse to let a humanitarian boat carrying more than 600 migrants dock at any of its ports and has asked the Mediterranean island of Malta to open its doors to the vessel, an official said on Sunday.Malta said it had nothing to do with the rescue operation, opening the prospect of a diplomatic stand-off between the two European Union allies.The move by Italy's new Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who is also head of the far-right League, is part of efforts to make good on his electoral promises to halt the flow of migrants into the country.More than 600…

06 Jun 2018

Tunisia Sees Sharp Rise in Boat Migrants

© botevvs / Adobe Stock

Tunisia stopped about 6,000 migrants leaving its coast for Europe in the first five months of the year - a sharp increase from the few hundred prevented in the same period last year, an interior ministry official said on Wednesday.Human traffickers have increasingly moved operations to Tunisia since a crackdown by the coastguard in neighboring Libya.Scores of migrants died when the boat carrying them sank on Sunday in the worst such incident off Tunisia's coast. The official said the death toll has now risen to 68."Since January 1 to the end of May 2018 we arrested about 6…

08 May 2018

Nigerian Migrants Sue Italy for Aiding Libyan Coast Guard

European Court of Human Rights (© Adrian Hancu / Adobe Stock)

Nigerian migrants who survived a deadly sea crossing last year filed a lawsuit against Italy for violating their rights by supporting Libya’s efforts to return them to North Africa, their lawyers said on Tuesday.Seventeen plaintiffs petitioned the European Court of Human Rights last week, Violeta Moreno-Lax, a legal advisor for the Global Legal Action Network, told reporters. She was among four lawyers and several humanitarian groups involved in the case.The migrants say Italy violated multiple articles of the European Convention on Human Rights…

13 Mar 2018

Migrant Influx Puts Greek Port on Edge

© Kostas Koufogiorgos / Adobe Stock

The migrants bolted across a street and clambered over a fence into the Greek port at Patras, scouting around for trucks to stow away in. Dozens at a time scaled a 2-km stretch of fence one afternoon last week, playing cat-and-mouse with police officers who pushed them back only for the men to try again hours later. They are part of a growing number of migrants in Greece trying daily to smuggle themselves onto ferries at Patras to get to Italy. It's a dangerous passage but it has become more appealing since the closure in 2016 of the overland Balkan route to northern Europe.

02 Feb 2018

Migrant Boat Capsizes off Libya, Dozens Feared Dead

Most on board boat believed to be Pakistanis;ten bodies so far recovered, three survivors found. An estimated 90 migrants are feared to have drowned off the coast of Libya after a smuggler's boat capsized early on Friday, leaving three known survivors and 10 bodies washed up on shore, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said. Survivors told aid workers that most of the migrants on board were Pakistanis, who form a growing group heading to Italy from North Africa, IOM spokeswoman Olivia Headon said. "They have given an estimate of 90 people who drowned during the capsize, but we still need to verify the exact number of people who lost their lives during the tragedy," Headon, speaking from Tunis, told a Geneva news briefing.

18 Jan 2017

Shell Bolsters Offshore Wind Interests with Bid in U.S. Tender

Royal Dutch Shell has been shortlisted by the U.S. government to make a bid for an offshore wind project licence in the waters off North Carolina, as it comes under pressure from shareholders to diversify into green energy. Shell, as well as Norway's Statoil, qualified to participate in the upcoming leasing round offshore Kitty Hawk, the U.S. interior ministry said on Tuesday. The lease award is set for March 16. Shell's core business of producing oil and gas is reeling after more than two years of weak prices. The company has limited experience in building offshore wind farms but last month won a bid to build a 700-megawatt offshore wind farm in the Netherlands, together with more experienced partners.

15 May 2017

Spanish Police Bust Fishing Vessel Hauling Cocaine

Spanish police seized more than two tons of cocaine from a ship with a Venezuelan flag in the Atlantic Ocean and arrested the seven crew members, Spain's interior ministry said on Monday. The operation, carried out alongside the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the UK's National Crime Agency and Portuguese police, took place earlier this month, on May 4. The seven people on board were Venezuelan nationals, the ministry said, adding that a gun had also been seized alongside 2400 kg of cocaine. The vessel, a small, rusted fishing boat according to images distributed by police, has since been towed to Spain's Canary Islands. Separately…

02 Aug 2017

Italy Gives Green Light to Libya Naval Mission

Italy to send two boats to help Libya coastguard; plans for larger operation thwarted by Libya. Italy's parliament authorised on Wednesday a limited naval mission to help Libya's coastguard curb migrant flows, which have become a source of growing political friction ahead of national elections expected early next year. An Italian official said Rome planned to send two boats to Libyan waters, with Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti saying the vessels would only provide technical support and would not infringe on the north African country's sovereignty. Italy announced the operation last week, saying it had been requested by Libya's U.N.-backed government. It initially hoped to send six ships into Libyan territorial waters, but the plans had to be scaled back following protests from Tripoli.

08 Aug 2017

Italy, Malta Turn Away Migrant Rescue Boat

A Spanish aid group operating in the Mediterranean said on Tuesday one of its boats had been barred by Italy and Malta from disembarking migrants rescued two days ago. Humanitarian groups have played a growing role in rescuing migrants who pay criminal gangs for passage from Libya, prompting accusations in Italy that they are facilitating people smuggling and encouraging migration. The groups deny this. It was not clear why the Golfo Azzurro, run by Barcelona-based Proactiva Open Arms, was not allowed to dock in Lampedusa. It is now in international waters. The Italian coastguard could not be reached for comment. "Golfo Azzurro rescued three people 100 miles from the Libyan coast in an (Italian) coastguard operation 48 hours ago and we are still without authorisation to disembark…

23 Jun 2016

Boat Migrant Rescues Surge as Calm Seas Return to Mediterranean

Ships manned by humanitarian organisations, the Italian navy and the coast guard helped rescue more than 2,000 boat migrants on Thursday as calm seas returned to the Mediterranean prompting a surge in departures. The Topaz Responder, a ship run by the Malta-based humanitarian group Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), said 23 different migrant boats had been spotted in the sea about 20 nautical miles from the Libyan port city of Sabratha. Rescue operations were ongoing, the Italian coast guard said. "The mass movement is probably the result of week-long, unfavourable weather conditions" that have come to an end, MOAS said on Twitter. The Topaz Responder picked up 382 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa from three different large rubber boats.

24 Jun 2016

More than 2,000 Migrants Rescued at Sea -Italy Coastguard

File photo: Italian Navy

Ship crews pulled more than 2,000 migrants from overcrowded boats in the Mediterranean on Friday, Italy's coastguard said, as people smugglers stepped up operations during two consecutive days of good weather. More than 7,100 people have now been plucked from international waters since Thursday, many of them on the dangerous journey from Libya. Europe's worst immigration crisis since World War Two is in its third year, and there has been little sign of any let up of the flow of people coming from North African to Italy since last year.

02 Oct 2016

Evacuations in Guantanamo, Haiti as fierce Hurricane Matthew looms

Image U.S. National Hurricane Cente

The United States prepared to airlift hundreds of people from its Guantanamo Bay naval base as the most powerful cyclone to form over the Atlantic since Hurricane Felix in 2007 ground slowly towards Jamaica, Haiti and Cuba. Haiti also began evacuating residents by boat from outlying islands in preparation for Hurricane Matthew, which threatens to wreak widespread damage in the region with flash floods and winds at about 150 miles per hour (240 kph). Matthew is expected to make landfall as a major storm on Jamaica's southern coast, home to the capital, Kingston, and its only oil refinery.

17 Nov 2016

About 100 Migrants Feared Dead in Mediterranean

Six migrants died and up to 100 more were missing and feared dead after their rubber boat sank in the Mediterranean on Thursday, the president of the Italian unit of aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said. A British navy ship rescued 27 people and recovered six bodies about 20 miles from the coast of Libya early on Thursday morning, MSF Italy president Loris De Filippi said. The new disaster adds to a death toll which aid groups had put at 240 for the three days ending on Wednesday, as migrants continue to leave Libya despite rough seas. The migrants were transferred to the MSF ship Bourbon Argos, one of several aid agency vessels operating in the area. Survivors told staff that another 90 to 100 people had also been on board and had died.

28 Nov 2016

Record Number of Boat Migrants Reach Italy This Year

A record number of migrants have reached Italy by boat from North Africa in 2016, according to official data, as pressure on Italy's shelter and asylum systems grows. Italy has borne the brunt of new arrivals since the implementation in March of an agreement between the European Union and Turkey to curb the flow of migrants sailing for Greece. As of Nov. 28, 171,299 boat migrants had reached Italy's shores, the Interior Ministry said, compared to the previous record of 170,100 for all of 2014. There is no sign of a let-up in people crossing. Some 1,400 more migrants were rescued from rubber and wooden boats attempting to cross the central Mediterranean during Monday, Italy's coast guard said. In the past three years, Italy has recorded nearly half a million migrant arrivals.

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