Skip to Content

Aquarius stripped of its Panama flag. Wikipedia

Migrant vessel stripped of Panama flag

Panama has revoked the registration of the NGO migrant-rescue ship Aquarius2, making it impossible for it to operate any longer in the Mediterranean. The move has dealt a "major blow" to migrant "rescue operations" off Libya's coast.

Published: September 25, 2018, 9:46 am

    Read more

    SOS Méditerranée and Doctors without Borders (MSF) said they were “reeling” from Saturday’s announcement by the Panama Maritime Authority.

    The NGOs have complained of “blatant economic and political pressure from the Italian government”, AFP reported. But the Italian government denies pressuring Panama to make the decision.

    Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has denied turning the Aquarius2 into a “pirate” vessel.

    “It’s clear that no country wants to take the responsibility of being identified with a ship that hampers sea rescue operations, refuses coordination with the Libyan coast guard, attacks democratic governments like the Italian one, and expects to distribute clandestine migrants in Europe,” he said on Sunday night.

    Salvini said on Sunday that the ship would “never” dock in Italy. On Monday he called the Aquarius2 a “ghost ship”.

    Both NGOs have appealed to the European Union to intervene.

    But the vessel is just the latest in a string of NGO-operated migrant rescue ships Salvini has turned away from landing at Italian ports – although it is the first whose flag has been stripped by a foreign government.

    The Aquarius2 was heading for Marseille, where SOS Méditerranée has asked authorities to “exceptionally” authorise the disembarkation of the 58 migrants aboard, the NGO said later on Monday.

    SOS Méditeerranée director operations Frédéric Penard told a press conference in Paris that “the port of Marseille is the only one possible from which to set off again”.

    The vessel spent 19 days docked in the French port of Marseille after Gibraltar revoked its flag last month. It set sail again last week after having acquired Panamanian recognition. But Panama then launched “an official revocation procedure” before stripping the ship of its flag.

    Italian authorities noted on Friday that it was “floating in the Mediterranean” with migrants on board but that it was not welcome to dock in Italy.

    The two NGOs complained that “this measure condemns hundreds of men, women and children, in desperate search of safety, to drown at sea and inflicts a hard blow to the Aquarius’s humanitarian mission”.

    MSF said the Aquarius2 had saved 47 migrants including 17 minors and a pregnant woman of Libya.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Europe

    Official files a complaint against anti-Macron comments on Facebook

    The prefect of the Drôme, a department in southeast France wants to file a complaint against a Facebook user, who had denounced an "apartheid" speech by Emmanuel Macron on Facebook. Macron had spoken of his desire for a "society of vigilance".

    Influential economist predicts the end of fossil energy by 2028

    Jeremy Rifkin believes the fossil fuel civilization will collapse by 2028, and he has proposed a bold economic plan to counter that.

    German journalist says climate protests are for the privileged only

    The journalist Dirk Maxeiner has accused the "Fridays for the Future" movement of having no sense of the everyday problems of a large part of society.

    Salvini plans massive anti-government rally in Rome

    RomeThe anti-immigration League party leader Matteo Salvini said on Thursday that Saturday's massive anti-government rally would be open to all including the CasaPound party.

    Dutch MPs demand investigation into Ukraine’s role in MH17 crash

    The HagueUkraine will cooperate in an investigation that should answer why Ukrainian airspace was not closed during the downing of flight MH17 on July 17, 2014. Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said he received this commitment from Ukrainian President Zelenski.

    An elected RN official challenges a veiled woman

    Julien Odoul, a member of Marine Le Pen's National Rally (RN) and other elected RN officials created a controversy by asking a woman accompanying the class of her son to remove her veil at a plenary meeting of the Regional Council of Burgundy-Franche-Comté, on Friday, October 11.

    Nobel highlights male scientific achievements

    This week, as every year, the Nobel Prize winners were announced. The winners in the categories physics, chemistry and medicine are, as in many years before, exclusively male.

    Marine Le Pen: ‘The State is criminally absent’

    ParisDuring a recent press conference, Marine Le Pen, the leader of National Rally in France, addressed the deadly jihadist attack on the central Police Prefecture in Paris, as well as the effect that mass Islamic immigration is having on public order in France.

    Several French police stations targeted by Islamist chants

    ParisSeveral law enforcement establishments in the Paris region were targeted by Islamist chants in the wake of the Paris knife attacker's rampage at police headquarters. A complaint has been filed.

    Malta Pact on migrant redistribution a flop as landings increase

    RomeItaly's former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini noted the increase in migrants landings and said the new leftist coalition's open port policy should be blamed for recent deaths of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea.

    Go to archive