20-day blockade and sanction on open arms after disembarking 195 rescued people at italian port

In the current maritime environment, regulations seem to have lost their validity.
Over the past month, the Open Arms ship, in response to requests for assistance from the Italian Coast Guard, carried out up to 7 rescue operations under its coordination.
However, on Wednesday, August 23, in an inconsistent manner, the Italian authorities impose a restriction on a single rescue in our last mission, in accordance with the Meloni Decree, a 20-day administrative embargo and a fine of up to 10,000 euros for rescuing 196 people in 3 different operations.
Over the past month, our tugboat has rescued 734 people and provided assistance to another 540, all under the direct coordination of the Italian Coast Guard. In the past Mission 103, our ship found itself in an extremely complex situation: dozens of boats in distress at sea, and the Italian authorities unable to attend to all the calls for help.
Faced with this situation, they asked us to intervene in their rescue. Thus, we carried out 7 rescue operations and 18 more assistance operations in a single day, all meticulously coordinated by the Italian Coast Guard, which at that time had its boats stopped due to lack of fuel.
20-day blockade and sanction on open arms after disembarking 195 rescued people at italian port
A few days later, during the last Mission 105, Open Arms carried out 3 rescue operations in international waters, saving a total of 196 people, including 15 women and 19 unaccompanied minors. After rescuing the first 26 people from a very precarious boat, we were assigned Carrara as the port of disembarkation, more than 600 miles away and 4 days of navigation. On our course there, we received a warning from Alarm Phone about 2 boats in danger south of our position, which the non-governmental organization Sea-Watch confirmed through its aerial team Seabird2.

Given the lack of response from the maritime coordination centers that had been alerted at the same time as Open Arms, we went to provide assistance based on what is required by international conventions and international maritime law. When we approached one of the cases, the Italian MRCC insisted that we abandon the search and proceed to the preassigned port, as the competent authorities were handling the case. However, when asked for details, such as the arrival time of the assistance, they gave no response.
Thus, our tugboat arrived at the location, carried out the rescue of 132 people that lasted more than 2 hours, during which no authority showed up, confirming once again, these were lives abandoned adrift. We then proceeded to rescue the second case, with a total of 196 people rescued on board. After a brief stop in Lampedusa to carry out a medical evacuation of a young man, our ship arrived at the port of Carrara on Tuesday morning.

After having listened to the testimonies of the Captain, the SAR Coordinator, and the First Officer on board, for more than 6 hours, the Italian authorities have imposed a 20-day administrative embargo on the Open Arms vessel and a fine of up to 10,000 Euros.

The magnitude of what happened is surprising. The fact of sanctioning a humanitarian vessel for carrying out its task of saving lives at sea not only goes against international conventions and the Law of the Sea, but also confirms the lack of rules in the maritime field and a deep contempt for human life.
The rescue of women, children, and men in danger is not an option; it is a moral and legal duty that anyone who becomes aware of a dangerous situation must attend to.

Stopping Open Arms for 20 days, at a time when the humanitarian crisis at sea is at its peak, is an extremely risky decision, loaded with immense responsibilities.

In 2023, more than 2,264 people have died in the Mediterranean. Without the presence of the humanitarian organizations that we are at sea, sometimes acting in place of institutions, the human lives lost at the bottom of the sea will be even more.

If saving lives is a crime, there is no better time for you to join our band. Become a criminal. #FreeOpenArms



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