The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) confirmed on Sunday that it had carried out the first ever deportation of an asylum seeker by ship in autumn last year. It was part of pilot project and similar deportations could be carried out in the future.
The asylum seeker in question was a Moroccan national who had twice refused to return to his country of origin by plane, stated an SEM spokesperson referring to an article published in the Sunday edition of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper.
With assistance from French and Moroccan authorities the unsuccessful asylum seeker was sent to the south of France by plane and then put on a ferry destined for Morocco. He was accompanied by Swiss police all the way.
The Swiss authorities admitted that the expulsion was a complicated and difficult affair. However, they did not exclude the possibility of more such deportations by sea in the future as an exceptional measure.
Unsuccessful asylum seekers are normally escorted out of the country on special flights. In 2014, a total of 41 flights were chartered in order to expulse 252 foreign nationals.
swissinfo.ch and agencies