Giorgia Meloni came to the Italian Government promising to stop the arrival of migrants on the country’s shores, but she is not succeeding. This summer is being the most complicated in recent years: 105,483 people have arrived since the beginning of the year, compared with the 51,328 who arrived during the same period in 2022, and the 35,480 in 2021. Deaths at sea have also increased According to figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), so far a total of 2,013 migrants have died trying to cross the central Mediterranean, a thousand more than the same period last year, in which 974 people died .

Despite this humanitarian emergency, the Italian Government does not give respite to the ships operating in the central Mediterranean and this week has decreed the administrative blockade and fines to three humanitarian ships that participated in rescues in these waters. The last to suffer this punishment was the ship Open Arms of the Spanish oenagé Proactiva Open Arms, after it disembarked 195 migrants in the port of Marina de Carrara, in the north-west of the country. He has been sanctioned for carrying out several rescues when sailing towards this port, which is prohibited by the government decree on migration promoted by the prime minister. The same sanction – and for the same reason – was imposed on Tuesday on the German ship Sea-Eye 4, likewise, on Monday the Italian authorities also blocked the humanitarian ship Aurora, of the German NGO Sea Watch, for 20 days. In this case, the penalty was for landing 72 immigrants on the island of Lampedusa.

The detentions come after the Italian coastguard has had to call on humanitarian ships for help in recent weeks, after being overwhelmed by the high number of migrant boats in conflict. This has led these organizations to denounce the “arbitrary” policies of the Italian Government in migration matters. “These sanctions are impressive, because indeed in recent weeks the Italian coast guard asked them for help, because they did not have time to help everyone, and also because of the number of more than 2,000 deaths in the central Mediterranean, which could be many more because we know that there are many shipwrecks that no one knows anything about”, laments the spokesman for the central Mediterranean of the IOM, a United Nations agency, Flavio di Giacomo. “At sea, it seems that the rules no longer have any value, sometimes they ask us to take the place of the coast guard and allow seven rescues in a single day, others arrest us and sanction us”, criticized Open Arms in the social networks, assuring that the Italian coast guard had the boats stopped due to lack of fuel.

This year the real problem is the increase in departures from Tunisia, a route that already exceeds that of Libya due to the economic crisis the country is experiencing and the attacks by its president, Kaïs, on sub-Saharan migrants who had been settled for a long time sides in the country The Italian Government, which in May declared a state of migratory emergency, has promoted a European-wide pact for Europe to provide funds to Tunisia to slow down the departures. The IOM warns that the Tunisian route has become much more dangerous, using iron ships that sink quickly before rescue teams arrive. “It is quite inexplicable that it is sanctioned when all the cash should join in to lend a helping hand”, points out Di Giacomo. The real emergency is on the island of Lampedusa, he points out, where most of these boats arrive, because it is the closest to Tunisia. Their small migrant center is overwhelmed.

Meanwhile, some Italian mayors, progressives, but also from the League, are rebelling against the Executive, because they consider that they are dumping on them the difficult reception situation of the more than 105,000 migrants who have arrived in Italy this year. They complain that structures are missing, especially in the case of unaccompanied minors.