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Fatal ECJ ruling: Italy can no longer control migrant ships

A judgment with a devastating message: Italian authorities will no longer be allowed to check rescue ships of various "refugee" aid organizations, which usually enter the ports with migrants. Only in case of danger will this be allowed. This emerges from a decision of the European Court of Justice.

Published: August 4, 2022, 9:01 am

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    Luxembourg/Rome

    The judges in Luxembourg ruled that the EU rules on port state controls also apply to ships belonging to humanitarian organizations. For an inspection, the authorities would have to prove in detail “that there are reliable indications of a risk to health, safety, working conditions on board or the environment”.

    The number of people on board alone – there are often hundreds of migrants on board the ships who are taken on board by the organizations – will no longer in itself present a reason for an inspection.

    “The verdict is a great success for us,” a spokesman for the German “aid” organization Sea-Watch told dpa. Italy must now present concrete evidence for a port control. The ECJ judgment on Monday concerned the ships “Sea Watch 3” and “Sea Watch 4” sailing under the German flag.

    They act as water taxis in the central Mediterranean to take migrants on board, often in cooperation with local human traffickers. The Luxembourg judgment will give further impetus to the illegal mass influx from across the Mediterranean.

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