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Italy turns away three pregnant migrants in new crackdown on rescue ships

A heavily pregnant migrant was among those rescued from the Mediterranean. Many of those come over o..

By admin , in World News , at July 5, 2019

rubber dingy with migrants on and pregnant woman

A heavily pregnant migrant was among those rescued from the Mediterranean. Many of those come over on overcrowded inflatable boats (Picture: Sea Eye)

Italy has banned a migrant boat containing three heavily pregnant women from entering its waters.

It is the latest move by the country whose far-right interior minister has ordered a crack-down on rescue ships.

The Italian charity Mediterranea rescued dozens of people including pregnant women and four children off the coast of Libya on Thursday.

However, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini vowed not to let them disembark off Lampedusa island.

The group, many of whom will have fled war zones, have now spent the last day in international waters off the Mediterranean.

Salvini, who leads the powerful right-wing League party in the ruling coalition, has lashed out at the boat operators calling them disobedient, violent and pirate.

Doctors attend a pregnant woman on a Mediterranea Saving Humans NGO boat, as they sail off Italy's southernmost island of Lampedusa, just outside Italian territorial waters, on Thursday, July 4, 2019. An Italian humanitarian group whose boat has been barred from docking in Lampedusa said the health of the 54 migrants it rescued at sea is rapidly deteriorating, prompting fears of another standoff with Italy's populist government. Mediterranea Saving Humans said Friday in a tweet that its sailing boat ALEX was off Italy's southernmost island of Lampedusa, just outside Italian territorial waters, and that it has been banned from entering Italian jurisdiction by ministerial decree. (AP Photo/Olmo Calvo)

Doctors attend a pregnant woman on a Mediterranea Saving Humans NGO boat (Picture: AP)

Migrants rest on a Mediterranea Saving Humans NGO boat, as they sail off Italy's southernmost island of Lampedusa, just outside Italian territorial waters, on Thursday, July 4, 2019. An Italian humanitarian group whose boat has been barred from docking in Lampedusa said the health of the 54 migrants it rescued at sea is rapidly deteriorating, prompting fears of another standoff with Italy's populist government. Mediterranea Saving Humans said Friday in a tweet that its sailing boat ALEX was off Italy's southernmost island of Lampedusa, just outside Italian territorial waters, and that it has been banned from entering Italian jurisdiction by ministerial decree. (AP Photo/Olmo Calvo)

The boat is now in international waters while Malta and Italy try to decide where they will go (Picture: AP)

On Friday, Malta stepped forward to help calm the brewing standoff and offered to take 55 people into its care.

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In return, Italy has also agreed to take 55 other migrants.

The Maltese government said: It was decided that Malta will transfer 55 migrants… on board the ship Alex onto a ship of the armed forces of Malta.

In return, Italy will take 55 (other) migrants from Malta (as) part of an initiative that promotes a European spirit of cooperation and good will between Malta and Italy.

Salvini has seen his popularity soar with his hard line stance and ships have been repeatedly refused entry.

Last week the authorities on Lampedusa seized a vessel belonging to German aid group Sea-Watch.

They also arrested its captain Carola Rackete for unauthorised entry to port with dozens of rescued migrants on board.

Sea-Watch 3 captain Carola Rackete, center, from Germany, is approached by Italian finance police as she arrives in the Sicilian port of Porto Empedocle, from the island of Lampedusa, Italy, Monday, July 1, 2019. Rackete has been in custody since Saturday when she defied Italy's anti-migrant interior minister, Matteo Salvini, and port authorities by steering her Sea-Watch 3 ship to Lampedusa's dock so the 40 migrants the ship rescued on June 12 could disembark. (Pasquale Claudio Montana Lampo/ANSA via AP)

Sea-Watch 3 captain Carola Rackete, was arrested as she docked her rescue ship in Italy (Picture: ANSA)

Handout picture taken and released on July 5, 2019 by German migrant rescue NGO Sea-Eye, shows members of the German migrant rescue charity NGO Sea-Eye helping people to get off an overloaded rubber boat (background) spotted in international waters off the Libyan coast. - The blue dinghy lacked sufficient drinking water for the 64 men and one woman, and there was no satellite phone or navigation aid on board, the group said in a statement. (Photo by Fabian Heinz / sea-eye.org / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO /SEA-EYE.ORG / Fabian HEINZ" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTSFABIAN HEINZ/AFP/Getty Images

On Friday, 65 people were rescued from an overloaded rubber boat in international waters (Picture: AFP)

Carola, 31, entered the Italian port on a ship with 40 migrants after defying warnings by the local government not to.

Fellow female German captain Pia Klemp faces 20 years in jail after helping rescue at least 1,000 migrants over the years.

Salvini has accused her of people smuggling but Klemp says she has only followed international law in rescuing stricken people.

Italy has been operating a tougher policy over the last year, claiming it is bearing the brunt of illegal immigration intoRead More – Source

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