Italy welcomes the Ocean Viking and more than a hundred migrants on board

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Italy welcomes the Ocean Viking and more than a hundred migrants on board

Migrants stand aboard the Ocean Viking.

Italy assigned the SOS humanitarian ship Ocean Viking Méditerranée, a safe port to disembark the 113 people rescued in the Mediterranean during the boat's first operation since docking in France in November, the NGO announced on Tuesday.

The ship headed for the port of Ravenna (north-eastern Italy), assigned by the Italian authorities as a safe port, the NGO said in a statement, who laments the four long days of navigation necessary to get there.

The migrants on board the ship were rescued overnight from Monday to Tuesday in international waters dependent on the Maltese search and rescue area, close to the Libyan area, the NGO had indicated.

< p class="e-p">As we head north, we fear that other people in distress at sea cannot be rescued, SOS Méditerranée said, although it said she was [relieved] for the survivors aboard the Ocean Viking.

Among the rescued migrants, 23 women, some of whom are pregnant, around 30 unaccompanied minors and three babies, the youngest of whom is only three weeks old, said SOS Méditerranée, headquartered in Marseille, in the south-west. eastern France.

They were on an overloaded black inflatable boat, in total darkness, still according to SOS Méditerranée.

In mid-November, the Ocean Viking had landed in Toulon, south-eastern France, with 230 rescued migrants between Libya and Italy, after three weeks of wandering in search of a safe harbor and a diplomatic showdown between Paris and Rome.

The French government had agreed to welcome exceptional title the boat after the refusal of Italy, which caused diplomatic tensions between the two countries.

Placed in a closed waiting area, the most of the survivors had been released either by court order, or because they were unaccompanied minors, or because they had been admitted to France for asylum.

Since the beginning of the year, 1,998 migrants have disappeared in the Mediterranean, including 1,369 in the central Mediterranean, the most dangerous migration route in the world, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Each year, thousands of people fleeing conflict or poverty attempt to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean from Libya, whose coasts are 300 km from Italy.

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