Volunteers prepare the Moonbird search and rescue plane for a mission across the central Mediterranean. Photograph:  Sally Hayden

“Tripoli, as-salamu ‘alaykum,” said the volunteer pilot into the radio. “Do you hear me? This is Moonbird calling. We are currently entering the searc(...)

Leoluca Orlando, the mayor of Palermo,  Sicily, points at a Palermo flag he has gifted the Alan Kurdi rescue ship. ‘I think what happens in Libya is a shame for the Italian government, it’s a shame for the European Union, it’s a shame for all European states.’ Photograph: Sally Hayden

As the Alan Kurdi rescue ship drew away from port in Palermo, Sicily, the city’s mayor waved a vigorous goodbye. “This is your home,” Leoluca Orlando (...)

People attend the inauguration of the Alan Kurdi rescue ship in Palma de Mallorca. File photograph: Jaime Reina/AFP via Getty Images

Palermo, Italy At the end of a long dock, past large container ships, cranes and warehouses, and framed by the twinkling lights of Palermo across the(...)

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte: His Liberals have the support of centre-right allies, the Christian Democrats, and three right-wing parties, Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party, the Forum for Democracy and the Calvinist party, SGP. Photograph: Bertrand Guay

Five parties in the Dutch parliament, including prime minister Mark Rutte’s Liberals, have come together in support of a controversial motion that wou(...)

Demonstrators hold a banner reading ‘Free Carola’ during a vigil  in Cologne, Germany, for Carola Rackete. Photograph: Federico Gambarini/dpa/AFP/Getty Images

Two online campaigns to help the German captain of a rescue ship who is under house arrest in Italy have between them raised more than €1 million. Ca(...)

Carola Rackete, the 31-year-old Sea-Watch 3 captain, is escorted off the ship by police and taken away for questioning, in Lampedusa, Italy. Photograph: Reuters/ Guglielmo Mangiapane

A war of words broke out between Germany and Italy on Sunday over the German captain of a rescue ship, who defied a docking ban enforced by Rome to br(...)

The Sea-Watch 3 charity ship’s German captain Carola Rackete being arrested by Italian police, in the Italian port of Lampedusa. Photograph: Anaelle Le Bouedec/AFP/Getty

Italian police have arrested the German captain of a migrant-rescue ship at the centre of a standoff with the Italian government, after she docked the(...)