Migrant rescue ship Aquarius forced to cease operations

World News | Published:

Aid groups blamed the Italian government and other European states for the move.

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Aid groups Doctors Without Borders and SOS Mediterranee have said they have been forced to end the rescue operations of the Aquarius ship in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Aquarius has been docked in Marseille since October after Panama revoked its flag.

Last month, Italian prosecutors ordered the seizure of the ship and accused Doctors Without Borders, known by its French acronym MSF, of illegally disposing 24 metric tons of medical and contaminated waste accumulated during rescues.

In a statement, the aid groups said they made the decision because of “a sustained campaign, spearheaded by the Italian government and backed by other European states, to delegitimise, slander and obstruct aid organisations providing assistance to vulnerable people”.

MSF said the Aquarius has assisted nearly 30,000 people since 2016.

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