Italian coast guard lands 900 immigrants in Sicily

Italy's new populist government appears to have decided to refuse entry to rescue ships of European-flagged aid groups, but allow Italian maritime vessels in its ports

An Italian Coast Guard boat approaches the French NGO 'SOS Mediterranee' Aquarius ship as migrants were being transferred, in the Mediterranean Sea on Tuesday
An Italian Coast Guard boat approaches the French NGO 'SOS Mediterranee' Aquarius ship as migrants were being transferred, in the Mediterranean Sea on Tuesday

An Italian coast guard vessel has docked in Sicily with more than 900 migrants aboard, evidence that Italy's new anti-migrant government is still taking in some asylum-seekers but is forcing the rest of Europe to accept others.

Crew aboard the Diciotti began disembarking passengers in Catania's port early this morning. At the same time, the Aquarius vessel of the aid group SOS Mediterranee continued its days' long westward voyage to Spain, where it was rerouted after Italy and Malta refused it entry.

Read also: [SLIDESHOW] Italian papers go ballistic after Macron takes Aquarius heat off Malta

Italian media said the fates of the two ships was evidence of the policy shift by Italy's new populist government: refuse entry to rescue ships of European-flagged aid groups, but allow Italian maritime vessels in its ports.

The shift has heightened tensions in Europe, with France accusing Italy of "cynical" and irresponsible behaviour.

More in World

Get access to the real stories first with the digital edition

Subscribe