Italian police have arrested the German captain of migrant-rescue ship Sea Watch 3 after she docked at the island port of Lampedusa.
Netherlands-flagged Sea-Watch 3, which is operated by German charity Sea-Watch, had been at sea for more than two weeks, with 40 Africans on board. The migrants were allowed to disembark and were taken to a reception centre on the island.
Captain Carola Rackete decided last week to sail for the southern Italian island of Lampedusa but the vessel was blocked by Italian government vessels. In the early hours of Saturday morning, Rackete entered the port where the ship docked amid a heavy police presence.
The 31-year old German was taken off Sea-Watch 3 by tax police and driven away, amid applause and barracking from bystanders gathered at the port. She was arrested for “resisting a war ship”.
Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini had previously said he would only allow Rackete to dock when other EU states agreed to take the migrants immediately,
“Outlaw arrested. Pirate ship seized. Big fine on foreign NGO. Migrants all redistributed in other European countries. Mission completed,” Salvini said in a tweet on Saturday.
Salvini claimed that Italy had been given assurances by five European countries they would take the migrants. Those countries were believed to be France, Germany, Luxembourg, Finland and Portugal.