ROME (AFP) – Nearly 200 migrants pulled from the Mediterranean in the last two weeks by two humanitarian rescue boats will be taken in by France, Germany and Italy, in line with a European deal agreed in September.
“We are relieved, and appreciate the fact that France, Germany and Italy have finally found a solution for the 104 survivors on board the Ocean Viking and the 90 people on board Alan Kurdi,” Doctors Without Borders (MSF) tweeted on Tuesday.
Italy’s Interior Ministry said 70 of those rescued by the Ocean Viking, a ship operated by MSF and SOS Mediterranee, would be welcomed by France and Germany.
The ministry authorised the ship, which flies the Norwegian flag, to dock at the Sicilian port of Pozzallo.
The Ocean Viking rescued 104 people from a rubber boat in distress off the Libyan coast in October 18, most of them from West Africa, according to SOS Mediterranee. Among the group were 41 minors and two pregnant women.
All “claimed to have been victims or witnesses to physical or sexual violence,” during their voyage, said Michael Fark, the head of the mission at MSF.
Last Saturday, German NGO Sea-Eye rescued 90 migrants with its ship, the Alan Kurdi, named after the Syrian child whose drowning in the Mediterranean brought global attention to the migrant crisis.
It is not yet known where the vessel will be allowed to dock.
Italy’s Interior Ministry said France and Germany were accepting the migrants “on the basis of the deal concluded at Malta”.
France, Germany, Italy and Malta reached a deal in Valletta, Malta on September 23 to try to avoid ships carrying migrants being held up for weeks while countries decided their fate on a case-by-case basis.