Enac stops NGO planes. The reaction: “They want to close our eyes”


By John

NGO planes will no longer be able to fly on the Central Mediterraneanotherwise the administrative detention and related sanction will be triggered. The new provisions arrive directly from Enac through five ordinances – all identical – drawn up within a few days and published between yesterday and today on its official website. «They want to stop the only eyes of civil society in the Mediterranean, but we won't stop», thunders Sea Watch. The National Civil Aviation Authority, which depends directly on the Ministry of Transport led by Matteo Salvini, has signed five ordinances which concern the Sicilian airports of Palermo (Punta Raisi and Boccadifalco), Lampedusa, Pantelleria and Trapani, explaining that the interventions of civil aircraft not only violate the “regulatory framework of reference in the Search and Rescue field” but also risk “compromising the safety of migrant people who are not assisted according to the protocols in force and approved by the Maritime Authority”.

For this reason, explains the Western Sicily Territorial Directorate of ENAC – «anyone who carries out activities in the Search and Rescue field outside the provisions of the current regulatory framework is punished with the sanctions referred to in the Navigation Code, as well as with the adoption of further sanctioning measures such as administrative detention of the aircraft”. That of ENAC translates into yet another crackdown by the government towards non-governmental organizations, after the so-called “NGO decree” last year which introduced the new, and more stringent, code of conduct for rescues at sea.

«They want to prevent our planes from witnessing what is happening in the Mediterranean, but we will not stop even at the cost of endangering our planes», is the promise of Sea Watch. «Stopping NGO planes – he continues – means blinding civil society and Italian and European citizens to what is happening in the Mediterranean as a result of their governments' migration policies. A cowardly and cynical act of those who use the criminalization of NGOs as a tool for political propaganda in view of the upcoming elections for the renewal of the European Parliament.” Just today, the ship Nadir – of the German NGO Resqship – rescued a small boat with 57 migrants in international waters off the coast of Lampedusa. Among them is yet another victim of the “journey of hope” towards Italy.

Fratoianni: “Stop Enac to NGO flights, cynical antics”

«Now they have even gone so far as to prevent NGO planes from flying over the Mediterranean. They are evidently too inconvenient, especially during the election campaign, because every day they document the abuses of the so-called Libyan coast guard which Italy finances and to which it gives patrol boats with the money of the citizens of our country.” This was stated by Nicola Fratoianni of the Alleanza Verdi Sinistra. «In exchange, these militias – continues the leader of SI – capture, beat, torture and shoot at migrants and ships flying our flag, as happened a few weeks ago against the Mare Jonio ship. In a situation like the one that has arisen, reconnaissance aircraft have a key monitoring and witness function in the central Mediterranean. They are the only eyes we have on that open-air cemetery and many times they have helped save hundreds of lives. And now they are trying to stop them with a circular from ENAC, something that is neither in heaven nor on earth. This morning – concludes Fratoianni – I will present a question to the Minister of the Interior Piantedosi on this umpteenth cynical antics”.