The Catania Public Prosecutor has ordered the seizure of migrant rescue boat The Aquarius – and is investigating the NGO that runs the boat on charges of illegal disposal of waste.
According to a statement released by the prosecutor's office, 24 suspects are “systematically sharing, planning and carrying out a criminal project of illegal disposal of a large quantity of hazardous waste at infectious risk, health and other, deriving from the relief activities,” it said, Euronews reports.
It referred to the relief activities of migrants on board NGO boat Vos Prudence, from March 2017 to July 2017 – and on the Aquarius, from January 2017 to May 2018.
Euronews has contacted the NGO, Medecins Sans Frontieres, for comment.
On its website, a statement said:
"We strongly condemn the decision of the Italian judicial authorities to seize the Aquarius ship for alleged irregularities in the disposal of on-board waste.
"A disproportionate and instrumental measure, aimed at criminalizing for the umpteenth time the medical-humanitarian action at sea.