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Italy allows rescue ship to disembark rescued migrants

AFP Photo

Italy allowed rescue ship Ocean Viking to disembark all 82 migrants on board in the southern island of Lampedusa, an international humanitarian organization said on Saturday.

"BREAKING: The Italian authorities have just offered #OceanViking a Place of Safety. Six days since the first rescue, @MSF_Sea & @SOSMedIntl are relieved that the 82 rescued people onboard will soon disembark in Lampedusa," Medecines Sans Frontieres (MSF) -- also known as Doctors Without Borders -- said in a Twitter post.

Ocean Viking belonging to the MSF and SOS Mediterranean, has been waiting at sea for a safe port.

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said on Twitter that a European ad hoc agreement with Italy, France, Germany, Portugal and Luxembourg allowed the vessel to land at Lampedusa.

"We now need to agree on a real European temporary mechanism," Castaner said.

EU member states, including Germany and Italy, will meet in Malta on Sept. 23 to discuss migration issue.

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said Friday that Berlin was prepared to take in a quarter of migrants who arrive in Italy by boat.

More than 39,000 irregular migrants and refugees have reached Europe by sea since the beginning of 2019. As many as 840 died at sea, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

At least 30,500 migrants died between 2014 and 2018 while making the treacherous journey to Europe, the IOM said in January.

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