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2 July 2019 NGO Sea Watch disembarked in Lampedusa and Italian authorities arrested Capitan Reckete

On 29 June, the Captain of Sea Watch 3, Carola Rackete, decided to enter Lampedusa port without Italian authorities’ permission due to the “state of emergency” declared in the vessel after 17 days on the sea with 40 migrants on board. The Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero announced that five EU states (Finland, France, Portugal, Germany and Luxemburg) accepted to welcome the migrants. The young German Captain was detained under charges of aiding illegal migration and refusing to obey a military vessel. After the Captain’s arrest, the German Federal Foreign Office officially asked the Italian government for explanations and, during an interview, the German President Frank Walter Steinmeier declared that “anyone who saves people’s lives cannot be considered a criminal”. The French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner also declared on Sunday that Italian “closed ports” policy is against maritime law. The NGO Sea Watch defended its Captain on Twitter stating that “under the law the Captain had the right to enter [to Lampedusa port] having declared and documented the need to do so” and that “it is rather a violation of the authorities to deny entry without a clear reason”. On 2 July, a judge decided to release Captain Reckete because he considered that she was “doing her duty of saving human lives”, but she will still have to face another interrogation at the Agrigento Court for the charge of aiding illegal migration.