Watch: Sea Watch 3 granted refuge in Italian territorial waters

Sea Watch is stranded at sea with 47 asylum seekers who were rescued from drowning on board, for the second time in less than a month. Both Italy and Malta have refused to let the NGO vessel dock and offer a safe port. However the mayor of Syracuse has granted permission for the vessel to seek shelter in its waters due to deteriorating weather conditions. The vessel sailed to 1.4 miles from the ports of Augusta, Marina di Melili, Siracusa in Italy earlier on Friday to shelter from adverse weather condition.

Sources close to Sea Watch told that a port of safety was requested to Malta and Italy as Lampedusa was the closest port of safety to the rescue. Further the people on board the vessel are weak, given the weather they had to sail in over the past days. On board the vessel there are 13 unaccompanied minors, with the youngest being a 13-year-old child.

Prior to carrying out the rescue operation, Sea Watch contacted the relevant maritime authorities, in Malta, Italy and Libya. Libya however was unresponsive “as usual”. The vessel contacted the relevant authorities during the rescue mission and again after with the question of commands.

Italian Coast Guard and Italian Guardia di finanza (GdF) are monitoring the situation.