News 11 july — 10:49

Italian ship carrying migrants turned away from Italian ports

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A commercial ship flying the Italian flag, and carrying dozens of rescued migrants, was refused permission to dock at Italian ports, BBC reports.

The Vos Thalassa, a supply ship which serves oil rigs in the Mediterranean, rescued 66 people adrift off the Libyan coast, Italian media report.

After being turned away from Italian ports, it handed the migrants over to the Italian coastguard.

Italy's government has blocked charity rescue ships from its ports for weeks.

Senior officials have accused the humanitarian groups of operating a "taxi service" for migrants, which they say endangers lives by encouraging human smuggling.

The Vos Thalassa, however, is an Italian vessel, rather than a foreign-flagged charity ship, and was not specifically on a search-and-rescue mission.

It is the first time a private Italian ship has been blocked from the ports of its home country because of the migrant policy.

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