ECR Group condemn Sea Watch 3 Captain

The ECR Group in the European Parliament has expressed its firm condemnation of the captain of the Sea Watch 3 ship, Carola Rackete, after allowing dozens of irregular migrants to embark on the vessel in the official Libyan Search and Sescue (SAR) zone before then sailing on to Italy, rejecting other ports in countries closer to its location.

The captain repeatedly violated the orders of the Italian authorities, which had legitimately banned the ship from entering Italian territorial waters, and finally docked at the port of Lampedusa where it rammed an Italian police patrol boat and thereby endangered the lives of officers as well as those of the migrants on board.

For these reasons we strongly reject the political campaign being driven by left-wing movements for the release of Carola Rackete, a campaign that undermines the Italian authorities. The ECR Group considers the violation of external borders of the Union and those of individual nation states to be an affront and totally unacceptable, particularly when carried out under questionable humanitarian grounds, and we are of the view that the rule of national and international law must be reaffirmed.

We call for the immediate end to NGOs activities in the central Mediterranean that encourage irregular migration and are increasingly becoming an indirect aid to human traffickers. To stop them and to prevent further dangerous departures of irregular migrants from Africa, the ECR Group firmly believes that the absolute priority has to be given to the control of our external borders and stronger action by authorities in the North African littoral states.

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