Rome, June 1 (IANS/AKI) Around 100 migrants who were saved off Libya by an Italian navy ship will not remain in Italy, hardline Interior Minister Matteo Salvini vowed on Friday.
“The navy ship with some 100 migrants on board has received instructions to sail to Genoa, but none will remain in Liguria at the Italian taxpayer’s expense,” he said.
The migrants, who reportedly include 17 women and 23 minors, were picked up on Thursday by the Italian navy’s Cigala Fulgosi in international waters some 90 nautical miles south of the island of Lampedusa, Defence Minister Elizabetta Trenta said.
Liguria’s Governor Giovanni Toti told AKI on Thursday that there had been no immediate official request from the Interior Ministry to land the migrants in Genoa, where they would only stay temporarily.
“In any case, it would a humanitarian corridor. If the port of Genoa was to be a transit point, that would be unsurprising – these migrants need to be re-located,” Toti said.
“Genoa is a hospitable city. If there are people whose lives are in jeopardy at sea they must be saved and it is right to give them shelter.”
Hundreds of migrants have been stranded aboard rescue boats for many days over the past year in a series of international standoffs during which Salvini refused to allow the migrants ashore unless other countries agreed to take in a share.
Salvini closed Italy’s ports to migrant rescue ships after he took office in June last year.