NGOs 'know where migrant boats are' - prosecutor (3)

Libyan Coast Guard rescues migrants for first time

(ANSA) - Rome, May 10 - Non-governmental organisations have rescued migrants off Libya without informing the Italian Coast Guard and appear to know where migrant boats will be, Trapani acting chief prosecutor Ambrogio Cartosio told the Senate defence committee Wednesday, adding that mafia-linked people were involved in the migrant reception business. "The NGOs have carried out some sea rescues without informing the Coast Guard," said Cartosio. There have also been "cases in which individuals on board NGO ships were aware of the time and place in which migrant boats would be, and that poses a problem as to whether the intervention was regular". Furthermore, Cartosio said, "individuals related to or in touch with mafia organisations were part of the reception business". Cartosio said investigations are ongoing "into aiding and abetting clandestine immigration not concerning the NGOs as such but people belonging to the NGOs." Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said it had "never" been contacted by Trapani prosecutors. It said its procedures for intervention were "transparent" and it was ready to "clear things up". Rescues were carried out in conformity with its humanitarian principles and in accordance with national and international law, it said.
    Meanwhile in the first effect of a deal recently signed with Italy the Libyan Coast Guard, recently equipped with Italian vessels, rescued a boat carrying some 300 migrants and took it back to Tripoli. The migrants had sent an SOS to the Italian Coast Guard.
   

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