The recent shipwreck that occurred not far away from the Italian coast, involving an African boat with more than three hundred souls onboard, most of which drowned, triggered once again a heated debate on the Italian law regulating this matter.
Put simply, the bill on immigration approved on 2002 forbids the act of bringing people who don’t have a visa for Italy onto Italian territory in any case.
That means, if you are fishing and spot a boat filled with starving people which is going to sink under their weight, decide to save them, bring them to the nearest hospital, and that hospital is incidentally on Italian territory, then you’ve just committed a crime.
Not to mention the seizure of the boat, which is ordered even in the case of bringing dead bodies ashore.
Hypothetical? Not really.
In 2004 a German ship saved 37 people from a sinking boat. The captain was arrested and trailed for aiding and abetting in illegal immigration.
To avoid such risks, crews often look the other way and decide not to rescue.
That’s why entering Italy illegally from the sea could cost you your life.