ROME, Italy — The captain of an NGO-run ship carrying 42 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean Sea was detained in Italy on Saturday after the vessel rammed a border police motorboat blocking its way as it docked without permission, officials said.

The migrants finally stepped onto Italian soil after disembarking from the Sea-Watch 3, which rescued them more than two weeks earlier.

Italy’s anti-migrant interior minister, Matteo Salvini, had refused to let them disembark at the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa until other European Union countries agreed to take in the asylum-seekers.

Carola Rackete, the 32-year-old ship captain from Germany, had been engaged in a standoff with Italian authorities that reignited a fierce debate over the country’s draconian migration laws and prompted a display of solidarity from some members of the public.

“There are two conflicting laws in Italy,” Rackete said during a live Skype call with the Foreign Press Association in Rome on Friday.

“One is the maritime law, which states that one must save endangered lives at sea. The other one is the law passed by the Italian government, which states that bringing migrants onshore threatens national security.”

“For all I know,” she added, “saving a life is more important than Italy’s concern for its territorial borders.”

source: nbcnews.com

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