Italy says it is ready to intervene over an Italian tug boat which has been detained by Libya. The vessel’s current whereabouts have not been confirmed.
The tug boat is well known in Italy having been the star of a maritime drama in 2009 when it rescued a large number of surviving immigrants in a sinking boat.
Ignazio La Russa Italian Defence Minister said: “Of course we are prepared, if it becomes necessary, to carry out an emergency intervention. Obviously we would only do this if we are asked to, and if it is opportune.”
The tug boat is crewed by eight Italians, two Indians and a Ukrainian, and provides support to oil platforms in partnership with Italian oil giant Eni.
The Minister went on to say that Italy was contributing eight air force planes to the coalition effort in Libya under a single command post in Naples.