Italy sends socks, shoes, food to migrants stuck on boat

Italy sends socks, shoes, food to migrants stuck on boat
An Italian Coast Guard patroller flanks the Sea-Watch rescue ship off the Sicilian coast where it found shelter, about one nautical mile from Siracusa, from gale winds sweeping the Sicilian Channel, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019. The Sea-Watch is carrying 47 people saved from the sea. Italian Interior minister Salvini yesterday tweeted that the government is "ready to send food, medicine and whatever may be needed, but Italy's ports are and will remain closed". (AP Photo/Salvatore Cavalli)

ROME (AP) — The Italian coast guard is bringing socks, shoes, bread and fruit to 47 migrants who have been stranded at sea for nine days aboard a German humanitarian group’s rescue boat close to the Italian island of Sicily.

Italy’s hard-line interior minister, Matteo Salvini, refuses to let humanitarian boats that rescue migrants in the Mediterranean from smugglers’ unseaworthy vessels disembark because he contends the aid facilitates trafficking.

Sea-Watch 3 rescued the migrants on Jan. 19 in the waters off Libya.

On Sunday, three Italian opposition lawmakers and the mayor of nearby Syracuse boarded Sea-Watch3, which is a mile offshore, to inspect conditions.

Italian news agency ANSA quoted Syracuse prosecutor Fabio Scavone as saying the captain had requested psychological assistance for those aboard but added there wasn’t any medical emergency.