Two migrants evacuated from Sea-Watch rescue boat in Italy

LAMPEDUSA, Italy (AFP) – A sick 19-year-old migrant and his young brother have been evacuated from a Sea-Watch rescue boat banned by Italy from docking on the island of Lampedusa, the German NGO said.

Another 40 migrants are still onboard, Sea-Watch said.

“A medical evacuation just took place. One patient under serious pain and his brother were disembarked from #SeaWatch3,” the NGO tweeted.

It quoted the ship’s captain, Carola Rackete, as saying, “We cannot wait for every single person to become a medical emergency until Europe recognises they have basic rights.”

The stand-off between Sea-Watch 3 and the Italian authorities escalated on Wednesday when the vessel entered Italian waters despite a threat of hefty fines from far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

Rackete has said she is ready to go to prison to bring the migrants to safety. They have spent more than two weeks at sea.

Salvini has said the migrants can only disembark if they head straight to the Netherlands, where the Sea-Watch 3 is registered, or to Germany.

A migrant on a stretcher is carried onto an Italian Coast Guard boat from the German Sea-Watch 3 rescue ship in Italian waters off the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, southern Italy. – AP