"After two months in port a Marseilles without being able to get one flag, and while men, women and children continue to die at sea, MSF is Sos Méditerranée I'm forced to close the activities of the ship Aquarius". To announce it was Doctors without Borders, explaining that the choice was "painful but obliged ". A choice that "will leave in the Mediterranean more avoidable deaths, without any witness ". Last June the ship saw itself to deny access to Italian ports by the minister Matteo Salvini, remaining for over 24 hours 27 miles from Malta and 35 from Italy. At the end the boat, with 629 migrants on board, was welcomed by the port of Valencia and forced to four more days of navigation. And Salvini commented on the news of the end of the rescues by writing on Facebook: "The Aquarius ship closes its activities. Less departures, fewer landings, less dead. So good".
Msf and Sos Mediterranee could not find for the ship – seized by the proxy of Catania on charges of trafficking and illicit disposal of special waste – only one state willing to grant his flag. Before the start of the controversy over his work in the Mediterranean, Aquarius was beating the flag of Gibraltar. Availability had arrived from Panama, but the South American country eventually withdrew the offer, claiming to have suffered pressures from the Italian Government.
"In a growing climate of criminalization of migrants and those who help them – said the president of Msf Italia Claudia Lodesani – we lose sight of the principle of humanity. As long as people continue to die at sea or suffer atrocious suffering in Libya, we will look for new ways to provide them humanitarian assistance and the medical care they desperately need. " "It's a dark day – reads the Msf Twitter profile – because not only Europe has failed in ensuring the necessary search and rescue capacity in the Mediterranean, but also has sabotaged those who tried to save lives. We are disappointed and frustrated by the people we can no longer help ".