Italy Threatens to Shut Ports
Italy has warned that the current influx of migrants into the country from North Africa is unsustainable and threatened to shut its ports as an emergency measure, according to the BBC.
It is estimated that more than 500,000 migrants have passed through Italian ports since 2014, with numbers rising in 2017.
It is as yet not clear if blocking rescue ships would be legal, as The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea dictates that commercial ships have to assist a boat in distress regardless of the circumstances under international law.
The law further states that the country responsible for operations in an affected area must arrange for disembarkation of those in need to the nearest border.
Any potential lockdown could have disastrous effects on trade coming into Southern Europe via Italy.
In response to the crisis, Italian officials are set to meet with French and German counterparts in an attempt to find a solution and ensure EU-member countries are taking their fair share of migrants and refugees.