Two immigrants were found dead & more than 1,150 were rescued off Sicily, the coast guard stated on Wednesday, because the new nationalist government in Rome alerted to prevent two refugee boats run by charities from taking entry into Italian waters.
The coast guard added that 663 people & two bodies were picked up from a boat about 60 miles off Sicily & 494 others were rescued from another fishing vessel, which was closer to the island.
Meanwhile, the operations were carried out by the financial police, the coast guard and a Spanish boat working for the EU border agency, Frontex.
At the same time, around 380 migrants onboard Ocean Viking & Humanity 1, two vessels run by the charity organisation, looked set to be rejected disembarkation rights by Italy.
Moreover, the actions of the vessels, which have both sought a safe harbour in Malta or in Italy, were “not in line” with EU and Italian rules on security & border control of the battle against illegal immigration, the interior ministry added in a statement.
The recent Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi was head of staff for rightist League leader Matteo Savini in his term at the interior ministry in 2018-2019, when Italy repeatedly declined to let migrants disembark after they were rescued at sea.
Salvini, who built the majority of his political assets on an anti-immigration platform, is deputy PM and infrastructure minister in the new administration.
Italian PM Giorgia Meloni mentioned in her maiden speech to parliament on Tuesday that she wanted to stop sea departures & alerted her government would not permit people to take entry into Italy illegally.
Around five migrant deaths have been reported since Friday in Lampedusa, a small island that is Italy’s southernmost point and often a first target destination for those escaping North Africa.