Italy allows charity rescue boat with 213 migrants on board to dock
November 24 2019 12:11 PM
Ocean Viking
Ocean Viking


A charity vessel in the Mediterranean Sea with 213 migrants on board has been allowed to dock in Italy amid worsening weather conditions.

The SOS Mediterranee charity said on Saturday that its Ocean Viking vessel had been given the go-ahead to dock in Messina, on the north-east coast of Sicily.

The ship picked up 215 migrants in rescue operations last week. A woman pregnant with twins and a man were taken off the ship by helicopter.

A further 73 people were intercepted last week by the Open Arms, a Spanish non-governmental organization (NGO) which operates a boat with the same name in the Mediterranean. It is not yet known when and where it will dock.

Both NGO ships often seek permission to take the migrants to Italy or Malta. Those two countries usually open their ports only if there is a deal to relocate the migrants to other EU nations.

Until these agreements are finalized, migrants are left waiting at sea. Burden-sharing negotiations are normally coordinated by the European Commission.

Elsewhere, rescue operations were ongoing near the Italian island of Lampedusa, where an overcrowded 10-meter-long boat capsized on Saturday about 2 kilometres from shore.

According to the Italian Coast Guard, 149 people have been rescued so far, including three children. The number of potentially missing people was not clear.

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