Skip to Content

Aquarius, Wikipedia

Spat between Italy and UK intensifies over migrant taxi

The diplomatic spat between Italy and Britain over 141 migrants currently on board a Gibraltar-flagged vessel has taken a new turn after Italy demanded that Britain take in the migrants.

Published: August 14, 2018, 9:06 am

    Read more

    The Gibraltar Maritime Administration (GMA) has now announced that it would strip the migrant rescue vessel Aquarius of its Gibraltar registration, SkyNews reported.

    The “notice of removal” was issued by the GMA, citing its registration as a “survey vessel” which was in fact being used for rescue work. Due to be officially revoked on 20 August, the vessel’s registration will revert back to Germany since the owner is German.

    The British government quickly moved to strip the vessel of its UK status after Italy demanded Britain take in the 141 migrants on board because of its Gibraltar flag registration.

    The head of state of Gibraltar is the British monarch, represented by the Governor of Gibraltar. The governor is responsible to the British government in respect of defence, foreign policy, internal security.

    The news came after Italy’s transport minister Danilo Toninelli demanded that Britain open its ports to the Aquarius. Toninelli said the UK was responsible for the migrants.

    The Aquarius is currently in international waters between Italy and Malta waiting for a country to grant them a port of disembarkation.

    The French-German charity SOS Mediterranee, which lease and operate the Aquarius with Medicines Sans Frontiers, is furious over the Gibraltar government’s decision.

    The charity said in a statement that the move “attests a deliberate will to stop the rescue activity of the Aquarius, one of the last civil and humanitarian rescue ships in the Mediterranean”.

    The charity claimed that it had “satisfied, for the last two years, all regulatory requests arising from the competencies of the Gibraltar Flag State, and all technical controls regarding security and safety of the ship. No deficiencies were ever reported”.

    It added: “While for the last two and half years, the Aquarius has conducted more than 200 search and rescue (SAR) operations, in complete transparency and regularly informing all competent authorities, the Gibraltar Maritime Authority is disguising a political manoeuvre behind an incoherent argument.”

    The charity says that Gibraltar has been fully aware that the Aquarius has been used as a rescue ship. It appears that the Gibraltar Maritime Authority itself had registered the Aquarius as a search and rescue vessel with the International Maritime Organisation.

    According to the charity there is no “technically founded” difference between a survey and a rescue vessel.

    But SkyNews has since obtained the maritime maps which show the precise location of the latest migrant rescues by the vessel. It clearly shows that the closest ports are in Libya and Tunisia.

    However, Tunisia has routinely refused to allow migrant vessels to dock without fear of reprisals, while rescue charities have consistently refused to take migrants back to Libya.

    This latest standoff comes less than two months after another diplomatic incident involving the Aquarius in June when Italy refused the vessel.

    Spain then allowed the Aquarius to sail on to Valencia, but it now claims that the Aquarius is too far away to come to Spain, a source in the government told Sputnik News on Monday.

    A down-swing of some 80 percent in arrivals from Africa have been noted after the Italian government recently closed its ports to boats which rescue migrants.

    According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), over 60 000 migrants have arrived in Europe by sea in 2018.

    Consider donating to support our work

    Help us to produce more articles like this. FreeWestMedia is depending on donations from our readers to keep going. With your help, we expose the mainstream fake news agenda.

    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.

    • jackie jackson

      tiw tbe boats back to where they came from . unload the people then destroy the boats and take the engines. thats the only way to sabe europe.

    Europe

    European Court of Justice sets new obstacles for deportation

    The latest judgment by the European Court of Justice (file number C-517/17 ), which was published on July 16, received little media attention. This decision calls into question the European asylum system.

    Movie ‘Shugaley-2’ outlines real threats for both East and West

    Despite a long period of lock-down nearly all over the world, the speed of geopolitical processes have not slowed down, nor have the attempts to reflect and analyze them through documentaries and movies based on true stories.

    Poland plans to withdraw from Istanbul Convention

    WarsawEven if the political debate over The Istanbul Convention is also a uniquely Polish debate about the conservative orientation of the country's domestic politics, the criticism against this Convention is more than justified.

    ‘I am disgusted with Bordeaux, we are no longer safe here’

    BordeauxAfter he was attacked and stripped of his belongings by an organised gang, a Bordeaux journalist gave a distraught view of his city, which he says he no longer recognizes. Residents report thefts and violent attacks on a daily basis. The mayor is worried about a "climate emergency" however.

    Sweden: Somali rammed group after he was reported for child molestation

    BörlangeThe Somali taxi driver in the Swedish town of Borlänge who ran down a group of pedestrians recently, wanted to take revenge on his intended victim because the person had reported him for child molestation.

    Sweden: Immigrant child rapist commits 600 crimes – avoids deportation

    In May, the immigrant Bekim Dzelili was initially sentenced by the district court to 13 years in prison and deportation for life. He was found guilty of repeated aggravated child rape, the aggravated sexual abuse of a child, assault and unlawful threats. But the Swedish Court of Appeal has since reduced his prison sentence by one year and has canceled the deportation - the perpetrator may remain in Sweden because he has a "weak connection to his home country".

    Lampedusa: Landings intensify with migrants testing positive for Covid-19

    RomeImages of an illegal migrant landing that took place on 28 July on the most popular beach among shocked tourists and holiday makers, was broadcast by Italian CorriereTV. But the government is instead concerned about the politician who had tried to stop these illegal landings.

    Video: Sweden has knife violence, name changes, culture wars and a housing shortage

    Sweden used to be a 'model society'. But no more.

    German churches celebrate migrant crisis as a success

    MunichThe two large churches in Germany have drawn a positive interim assessment of the 2015 wave of migrants. Around half of those who came at the time are being trained or have jobs today, said the Council President of the Evangelical Church in Germany, Heinrich Bedford-Strohm.

    Erdogan and Islam: Religion as Trojan Horse for political influence in Germany

    IstanbulYesterday, the first official Islamic Friday prayer took place at the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. The controversy of the re-conversion of the former Christian Orthodox cathedral into a mosque is also hotly being discussed in Europe.

    Go to archive