Press Release

Wednesday 3 March 2021

London.UK.  Yesterday, the Administrative Court in Palermo preliminarily suspended the detention of the Sea-Watch 4 pending the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union on the  general legality of the application of the European Directive on Port State Control to humanitarian vessels.

Among the reasons given by Italian authorities for detaining the Sea-Watch 4 in September after an 11-hour inspection was that the ship had too many life jackets on board and that the sewage system was not designed for the number of possible rescued people.

The Administrative Court  clarified that the safety of navigation is ensured by the flag state and the ship’s captain in case of situations requiring emergency intervention, stressing that – in any case – the transport of rescued persons on board is limited to the time strictly necessary for their disembarkation in a safe place.

The Sea-Watch 4 will start its next mission as soon as possible after a transfer to the shipyard and completing necessary work due to the long detention.

Read the full press release here.



Elizabeth Mavropoulou, Programme Manager,