İrem GÖL -TDO- According to Reuters, Italian coastguards have impounded two charity rescue boats at the port of Palermo citing “technical and operational” irregularities, which the owners denounced as an excuse to block life-saving missions at sea. The seizure of the German-flagged Alan Kurdi and Spanish-flagged Aita Mari followed a sharp rise in the number of migrants reaching Italy.

The Alan Kurdi, which picked up 150 migrants off the Libyan coast last months and brought them to Italy, was impounded on Tuesday. The Aita Mari, which had brought 34 people to Sicily, was sequestrated on Wednesday. The coastguards said in a statement that the flag countries wol have to intervene because they were responsible for compliance with ship safety.

Charities that rescue migrants at the sea have accused the Italian authorities of interfering with their operations, increasing the risk to human life. Italy say NGO boats make the problem worse by tempting people to make the dangerous trip.

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