An Italian ship answered a May Day call picked up 67 refugees who were in danger of drowning. Since they were off the coast of Libya, they turned to the Libyan ship that was coming to the rescue.
To show their appreciation, the refugees began pushing the sailors around and ran their fingers across their throats. Nothing like good old gratitude. I’m guessing no commercial Italian ship will ever pick up refugees again. Initial reports said that the Italian government would not allow the ship to dock in one of its ports but the government said no request ever came. They say they didn’t even ask to travel through their waters.
Italy intervened in a migrant rescue by a private Italian ship this week after migrants reacted to attempts to hand the operation over to Libyan authorities by threatening the crew, the vessel said.
The Vos Thalassa took 67 migrants, including six children, onboard on Sunday after responding to a distress call off the Libyan coast.
Several local and international media reports said the ship was denied permission to dock in Italian ports because of the migrants, marking the first time the government had turned away an Italian vessel.
The migrants were then handed over to the Italian coast guard, the reports said.
However, international shipping company Vroon, which operates Vos Thalassa, an oil rig supply vessel, told Euronews that the ship “never requested to enter an Italian port or even Italian territorial waters.”
Vroon said that when the vessel turned to meet with the Libyan coast guard to transfer the migrants, they “started to threaten the crew, surrounding and pushing them and making ‘cut your throat’ gestures.”
“Because of these threats, the vessel returned to its position and reported this situation to the MRCC [Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre] in Rome.”
The shipping company said being “severely outnumbered on board a merchant vessel by an angry crowd that has very little to lose is very frightening”.
“We are very proud of the professionalism of our crew in these very challenging circumstances.”
Are these really the kind of people the Europeans want in their countries?