All received rescue request calls came «from the Italian MRCC, or from other NGO ships», and hence not from human traffickers, stated a Iuventa legal team member, speaking at a press conference in Trapani, Tuesday, following the first hearing into the impounded Iuventa boat case.
«[All the received rescue calls] have come from the Italian MRCC, or from other NGO ships, or rather ships from... Еще Frontex, or from Eunavformed's Sophia operation, or rather the Italian coastguard. Those are the only instances in which we have [taken part] in cases of sea rescue operations», said Iuventa legal member, Katherine.
Moreover, lawyer Leonardo Marino pointed out that there is concrete evidence supporting the case that the Iuventa only collaborated with the MCRR, the Italian Rescue Coordination Centre, and said that legal representatives had managed to print «the emails [with] the communications that the Iuventa ship had with Rome's Italian Rescue Coordination Centre, the MRCC, where it is reported that they told them: 'go to that area where there is a raft to save,' to which the Iuventa replies: 'we are going there.'»
In August, 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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