Kathrin, 33-year old captain of the confiscated refugee rescue vessel Iuventa, stated that she «speechless» at the Italian authorities decision. She was speaking in Lampedusa, Saturday.
According the captain, the rescue boat had an instruction from Italy's Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) «to take on board two migrants that have been transferred to the Iuventa from the Italian... Еще coastguard ship.» She maintained that her crew had «followed the instruction» to take the two migrants to Lampedua.
Discussing the confiscation of their boat, Kathrin said, «We had no reason to believe that anything would be different at this stage. We didn't learn that there was a warrant to search our ship and subsequently the ship was confiscated by the authorities.»
She went on, stressing that the Iuventa crew had «nothing to hide» and that their only intention was to have their ship returned so that they could continue collecting migrants stranded in the Mediterannean.
On Thursday, the vessel was seized by Italian authorities off the coast of Lampedusa after they alleged there was contact between the ship's crew and human traffickers from Libya, on three occasions between September last year and June.
The apparent contact involved a «handover» of migrants to the Iuventa as opposed to the rescue operations which were meant to have been taking place, according to prosecutors.
Police searched the vessel before sailing it to the city of Trapani in mainland Sicily from the Pelagie Islands which, at 70 miles away from Tunisia, are the main entry point to Europe for migrants.
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