MSF disembarks 237 migrants after criticizing Italy for «unnecessarily» prolonging their journey to safe harbor

The Geo Barents disembarks 237 migrants at the port of La Spezia (Liguria, Italy). – Europa Press/Contacto/Zen

Doctors Without Borders confirmed Sunday the safe disembarkation of 237 migrants after an «unnecessary journey» to the Italian port of La Spezia (in Italy’s northern Liguria region), a hundred hours’ sail from the initial location of its rescue ship the ‘Geo Barents’.

«The 237 survivors, including many women and children, have finally made landfall after a long and unnecessary journey,» the NGO lamented on its Twitter account after denouncing yesterday that the port assigned by the Italian authorities was an exaggeratedly long distance from the ship’s position.

«There are closer ports,» the NGO has pointed out, recalling that it is not the first time that the Italian authorities have resorted to this type of technique, in which the organizations see a tactic to deter search and rescue activity in the central Mediterranean.

For MSF, which has spoken out on social networks, this type of authorization goes «against international maritime law and guidelines».

The arrival of the far-right to the Italian government has meant a hardening of policies towards NGOs, which continue to demand clear disembarkation mechanisms and institutional monitoring of the migratory route across the Mediterranean. So far in 2023 alone, at least 27 people have died in the central area, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).