The NGO Mediterranea Saving Humans is under investigation after a Danish transporter allegedly paid it a sum of money in exchange for the recovery of migrants stranded on one of its freighters. The organization refutes this allegation.
As reported on March 2 by several Italian media, transalpine justice is investigating Mediterranea Saving Humans, an NGO accused of having received money from the Danish shipping giant AP Moeller-Maersk after having collected migrants stranded on board. one of its freighters. The NGO formally denies this accusation.
Maersk would have paid 125,000 euros to Idra, a company that oversees Mediterranea, just after the NGO recovered in September 27 migrants who had spent more than a month on one of the Danish carrier’s cargo ships.
Migrant relief NGOs operating between Libya, Malta and Italy are often criticized on the peninsula, with some even accusing them of collusion with migrant smugglers.
So far, however, the evidence gathered in various cases has not led to a trial. But several relief ships chartered by NGOs have recently been blocked by the Italian coast guard for security reasons.
On March 1, Mediterranea reported having been the target of a vast police operation ordered by a prosecutor from Ragusa (Sicily), denouncing the prosecutor’s “personal crusade” against NGOs.
The NGO claimed to be accused of having organized its relief operations “as projects aimed at collecting profits”, while stressing that these accusations are “based on speculations which will melt like snow in the sun”.
In a statement, the company AP Moeller-Maersk indicated that it “had not been contacted by the authorities within the framework of this investigation”, while declaring itself “ready to provide assistance at any time”.
The skipper of Mediterranea, his head of mission and the shipowner are suspected of a criminal association aimed at promoting illegal immigration and violation of the maritime code, according to La Repubblica.
In September, Mediterranea’s intervention made it possible to resolve the problem posed by the presence of migrants rescued by the cargo ship Maersk Etienne. They were stranded on board due to the refusal of Malta and Italy to welcome them.
The migrants were eventually transferred to the Mare Jonio de Mediterranea ship, and a month later Maersk made a payment to Mediterranea, according to the report. La Repubblica.
According to the head of mission of the NGO Luca Casarini, quoted by the newspaper, this money had “nothing to do” with the activities of aid to migrants. “We can prove it,” he added, saying the money corresponded to payment for a consultancy mission on port management.