Italy will allow the Ocean Viking humanitarian ship to dock at an Italian port and disembark 113 people rescued from the waters of the Mediterranean, a French NGO said Tuesday.
The humanitarian vessel, run by SOS Mediterranee, was at the centre of a standoff between France and Italy in November, when Italy’s new far-right government under Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni blocked access to its ports.
The 230 migrants on board at the time were eventually allowed to disembark in France after spending weeks at sea – heightening tensions between the two countries.
On Tuesday, SOS Mediterranee said the ship had been given permission to dock at the port of Ravenna in northeastern Italy, although it said it would take “four long days of navigation” to reach it.
The migrants on board were rescued overnight Monday in international waters close to Libya, as the boat carried out its first rescue operation since docking in France last month.
Among those who had been rescued were 23 women including some who were pregnant, according to the NGO, plus around 30 unaccompanied minors and three babies.
The youngest baby rescued is only three weeks old.
Every year many people fleeing Africa and the Middle East seek to enter Greece, Italy and Spain in hope of better lives in the European Union.
The International Organization for Migration has recorded nearly 2,000 migrants as dead or missing in the Mediterranean Sea this year.