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Italy special forces board Turkish vessel after alert over unidentified passengers

June 10, 2023 at 4:35 pm

The Turkish ship “Galata Seaway” is seen near Castel dell’Ovo in Naples, Italy on June 10, 2023. [Stringer – Anadolu Agency]

A Turkish cargo vessel that Italian special forces boarded after the crew detected a group of unidentified people on board is now sitting off the southern city of Naples, website MarineTraffic showed, while police continue to investigate the situation, Reuters reports.

‘Everything ended well,’ Italian minister Guido Crosetto wrote on Twitter.

‘My congratulations to the guys of the San Marco battalion and the police, who completed a wonderful operation,’ he wrote.

Late on Friday, Crosetto had told an event that there were 15 ‘illegal migrants’ on board the vessel, but did not provide details on how they managed to get there or their country of origin.

Ansa news agency reported that prosecutors have ordered police to make checks into what happened and that the migrants have been disembarked.

A Turkish transport ministry statement said on Friday the Galata Seaways roll-on-roll-off cargo vessel was sailing from the Turkish port of Yalova to Sete, France.

It said the crew noticed the presence of other people aboard in the late morning on Friday through security cameras, which showed them wandering around the boat.

The captain told Italian police he issued the alarm after he saw two of them carrying knives, Ansa reported.

The crew locked themselves in the engine room and alerted maritime authorities in Turkiye, who in turn contacted Italy and France. They subsequently set sail towards Naples, the statement said.

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