Italian Admiral Demands Germany Stop Migrant Transport NGO ‘Slave Ship’

The Dutch-flagged rescue vessel Sea Watch 3 sails the Mediterranean about 3 nautical miles off Malta's coast on January 4, 2019. - Thirty-two migrants, including children and teenagers rescued off Malta by a Sea-Watch rescue boat on December 22, 2018 remain at sea after being denied entry to European ports. …

Italian admiral Nicola De Felice has asked the German government shut down operations of the German-based migrant transport NGO Sea-Watch.

The open letter, which refers to the NGO’s vessel Sea-Watch 3 as a “slave ship”, asks for intervention from the German state as the ship flies the German flag.

“I ask you to take all the necessary measures to stop all Sea-Watch 3 activities related to the landing of illegal immigrants in Italy,” De Felice wrote in the letter to Germany’s ambassador to Italy.

The letter, sections of which were published by Italian newspaper Il Giornale on Monday, goes on to accuse the captain of the vessel of breaking several maritime rules and committing “international crimes”.

“These acts do not honour his nation and its flag, placing Germany and the most Christian German Evangelical Church in a position of ‘unconscious’ collaboration with human traffickers,” De Felice said.

“In conclusion, [I am] waiting for your government to remove the honoured German flag from the mast of the slave ship Sea-Watch 3,” he said and added that he hoped the German government would do what is right.

The use of the term “slave ship” comes just a month after Italian authorities arrested several Chinese businessmen in the city of Prato who were using illegal migrants as slave labour. They forced them to make medical masks, working shifts of up to 16 hours a day with no days off.

Italy has also had a major issue with migrants being forced into sexual slavery, particularly by Nigerian mafia groups which lure women to Italy and use a combination of threats and voodoo rituals to force them into servitude.

Other countries in Europe have also reported massive growth in slavery, with people, particularly migrants, being forced into slave-like conditions. In the UK, the Centre for Social Justice and the charity Justice and Care released a report claiming there were as many as 100,000 slaves in Britain alone.

The report comes as MP Andrew Bridgen claimed that Leicester had become a major hotspot for slavery, with an estimated 10,000 people living in slave-like conditions in the city, many working in sweatshops for as little as £2 an hour.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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