Early on Friday morning, the Danish container ship Alexander Mærsk altered course to rescue a group of 113 migrants from the Mediterranean. According to international law, the ship ought to be able to land them in Italy.
However, recently the Italian integration minister Matteo Salvini closed Italian harbours to ships trying to land migrants picked up in the Mediterranean.
“We can’t accept a single one more. On the contrary, we would like to get rid of some of them,” said Salvini to the German magazine Der Spiegel.
There are rules
Danish prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen has said that integration minister Inger Støjberg will be contacting her Italian counterpart in order to solve the problem, reports DR Nyheder.
“There is an agreed set of rules for this,” said Rasmussen.
“The Alexander Mærsk was acting on a request from the Italian coast guard when it took the migrants on board, so I can’t imagine that Italy will do anything other than abide by its obligations under international law,” added Rasmussen.
Earlier this month the Aquarius, a ship chartered by the private NGO SOS Mediterranée that had picked up 629 migrants, was the object of a dispute amongst a number of EU countries when it tried to land them. It was refused entry into both Italy and Malta and finally, the Spanish prime minister gave permission for it to dock in Valencia.