Italy allows charity rescue ship to dock


More than 430 people rescued in the Mediterranean prepared to disembark in Sicily today as two charity ships were allowed to dock just hours after one issued an ultimatum to Italy.

The rescue vessel Mare Jonio, owned by Italian NGO Mediterranea, told the Interior Ministry yesterday that it would “enter the first accessible port” without permission if its requests for safe harbor were not answered within 10 hours.

The ship was carrying 92 people rescued during two operations on June 5 and 6 in international waters around Libya and Malta, including around 30 unaccompanied minors.

He was assigned to the port of Pozzallo in southern Sicily and was due to disembark the rescued people today.

German charity Sea Watch, which yesterday said its Sea Watch 3 vessel was still awaiting port after four days, with 352 people on board, was also assigned to Pozzallo.

“After exhausting days, finally a safety port for the #SeaWatch3,” he tweeted Thursday.

Nearly 120 of those rescued by the Sea Watch were unaccompanied minors.

Charities have accused the Italian government of being deliberately slow to allocate ports to their rescue ships in a bid to deter people from attempting the dangerous crossing from North Africa.

SOS Méditerranée, which has rescued nearly 1,000 migrants since the start of the year, called yesterday for the urgent adoption of a European solidarity mechanism to avoid such delays.

His ship Ocean Viking rescued some 300 people, including a three-month-old baby and six pregnant women, on its last mission in May, but had to wait up to 10 days to enter safe port.

The Ocean Viking rescued 300 people (File image)

Some 17,000 people have crossed the central Mediterranean – considered the most dangerous migrant crossing in the world – since the start of the year, according to the Italian interior ministry.


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