Skip to Content

Pia Klemp. Screenshot from Italian TV interview

German boat captain faces jail for trafficking migrants in Mediterranean

The captain of a German vessel faces "up to 20 years in prison and horrendous fines" for her part in saving migrants in the Mediterranean, but investigators have not yet set a date for a trial.

Published: June 15, 2019, 11:38 am

    Read more

    Pia Klemp, a 35-year-old Bonn native, has been charged of being personally responsible for up to 1 000 rescue missions, according to a report in the British Daily Mail. She has been under investigation since her vessel, the Iuventa, was impounded in the summer of 2017.

    Klemp was charged in Sicily with assisting in illegal immigration before her boat was impounded in 2017, but Klemp says she will take her case the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.

    Some 78 432 people have signed a petition calling for impunity in her case as well as for wider incidences of sea rescues of migrants.

    The author of the petition said that charging Klemp and fellow members of private rescue ships boils down to the “unconditional surrender of humanity in Europe”.

    In an interview with the Swiss daily the Basler Zeitung, she complained that the money she will use in her legal defence – partly raised through donations – should have been used on rescue missions.

    It is alleged by investigators that under Klemp’s watch she was actually “collecting” migrants at specific rendezvous points, effectively closely working together with human traffickers. Italian prosecutors are investigating allegations of aiding and abetting illegal migration.

    Klemp and her comrades have rescued about 14 000 migrants, traveling the Mediterranean with the Iuventa and the Sea Watch 3. Instead of bringing the rescued back to where they came from, they have taken them to European ports.

    Sea Watch is one of several charities which has had its operations drastically cut back by Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, also Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister, who a year ago decreed that NGO boats should not be allowed into Italian ports.

    “She is of course very worried,” Ruben Neugebauer, a spokesman for Sea Watch, told British daily The Telegraph. “She and the crew were simply following the International Law of the Sea. But the situation in Italy and in Europe as a whole means that it takes courage to do that now.”

    On the occasion of World Refugee Day on June 15, an artist has made a 15 000 m² painting on the lawn of the Champ de Mars in Paris representing a hand extended to immigrants.

    The painting is in support of SOS Mediterranean, which picks up migrants at sea to bring them back to the EU. The artist Saype has been drawing for the past two weeks. The work is called “Beyond the walls”, reported Franceinfo .

    “It’s a fresco in the service of humanity,” said the artist at the inauguration of the work. The NGO SOS Méditerranée has been at the heart of controversy after several politicians accused NGOs of acting in the Mediterranean in “collusion” with smugglers.

    The gigantic fresco that covers the lawn was made with a biodegradable paint. As a result, it will only be visible for a week before disappearing.

    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.


    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