Salvini critical after migrant rescue

Italian coast guard can't replace Libya's - interior minister

(ANSA) - Rome, July 10 - The rescue off Libya by a private Italian vessel of 67 asylum seekers, who were subsequently transferred to an Italian Coast Guard ship, has irked Interior Minister and Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini, causing fresh tension in the Italian government.
    The interior ministry's position is that the intervention of the Vos Thalassa, a tug linked to an oil rig, anticipated that of the Libyan coast guard, sources said.
    Salvini took up the matter with Premier Giuseppe Conte, Labour and Industry Minister and Deputy Premier Luigi Di Maio and Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli, sources said.
    "The Italian Coast Guard cannot replace the Libyan one, above all, if the African colleagues have moved into action," Salvini said, according to the sources.
    League leader Salvini has spearheaded the hardline stance on migrants of the new coalition government that has seen NGO-run migrant rescue ships denied access to Italian ports. Toninelli, whose ministry is in charge of Italy's ports and the Coast Guard, said via Twitter the Italian Coast Guard intervened because the migrants were "endangering the lives of the crew" of the Vos Thalassa, and so were transferred to the coast guard's Diciotti vessel.
    He added that a investigation had been launched so that the migrants who caused the trouble could be punished. A Ghanaian man and a Sudanese man have been identified as the main alleged "troublemakers" among the migrants, the interior ministry said Tuesday.
    The top nationality represented among the migrants was Pakistani (27) followed by Sudanese (12) and Libyans (10).