African migrants who thought they would be denied passage to Europe became violent and threatened to kill the crew of an Italian supply ship that had rescued them.
Vos Thalassa, a specialist Offshore Supply Ship which works supporting French oil and gas company Total, picked up more than 60 migrants after responding to a distress call in the Mediterranean on Sunday night.
But within minutes, the crew were taken “hostage” by the people they allowed onboard, according to Il Giornale, which reported that some of the individuals who were rescued became enraged when a Libyan coastguard boat arrived on the scene to take the illegal immigrants to safety.
“It turned from a rescue to piracy,” commented the Italian transport ministry, stating that “death threats were made”.
talian Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli said he was “proud” of the country’s Coast Guard for taking the migrants “who were endangering the life of the Italian cruiser Vos Thalassa”, writing on Twitter: “Now onwards with investigations to punish troublemakers.”
However, government sources said the private tugboat’s intervention was “not necessary” because the rescue was the responsibility of the Libyan Coast Guard, which was close by.
Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini on Tuesday posted a transport ministry list of the migrants’ nationalities revealing that the bulk of hail from safe countries, commenting that few of the newcomers appear to have escaped conflict zones.