NATO said yesterday that Italian authorities never directly requested assistance from NATO in regard to the disabled migrant boat discovered earlier in the week by a Cypriot tug boat. NATO spokespersons said while NATO was informed that the migrant boat was in distress, Italian authorities also informed NATO that Italian patrol boats and a rescue helicopter were responding to the situation. NATO spokesperson Carmen Romero said NATO had a history of responding to emergency situations and pointed by way of example to NATO’s response on 26 March to two migrant boats in distress. A Canadian naval ship under NATO command in March rendered assistance to two migrant boats but, unlike the incident last month when a Spanish ship under NATO command rescued 100 migrants and was unable to offload the migrants for five days, the Canadian ship did not take the migrants on board.
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