Italy: 800 migrants aboard German rescue ship reach Sicilian port | News | DW

A German migrant rescue ship carrying more than 800 people entered the Sicilian port of Trapani on Sunday after obtaining permission from Italian authorities after days of waiting in the Mediterranean Sea.

The aid ship was cleared to dock just hours after Mission Lifeline’s Rise Above, another charity ship, delivered urgently needed food and blankets.

The ship is carrying five pregnant women as well as more than 200 minors – including “many children under the age of 10” – Sea-Eye 4 said in a statement.

On Saturday, the ship had sailed off Sicily while awaiting permission to disembark. Arrival in Trapani is scheduled for later Sunday.

“We are relieved and delighted that the difficult hours for our crew and those rescued end on Sunday and that people are finally safe in Italy,” said Gorden Isler of Sea-Eye.

“Negotiations” to be carried out after mooring

“Our team is working to the limits of what is humanly possible,” French news agency AFP said, quoting Isler.

More than 200 people were treated at the on-board hospital.

“The vessel must be allowed to dock immediately to ensure the safety of all rescued and crew,” he said, adding that “negotiations on the distribution of rescued” should be conducted after the landing of migrants.

“Appalled” by Malta

The charity ship was already carrying nearly 400 people when it ran on Thursday to rescue another 400 people crammed onto a wooden boat that was filling with water.

Since then, the Sea-Eye 4, which is operated by the Sea-Eye charity, has repeatedly asked the government in Rome to allow it to dock.

The first destination was the Italian island of Lampedusa. However, the ship was not allowed to dock there.

Malta also did not respond to emergency calls during the NGO’s week, Isler said, adding he was “appalled” by “the country’s inability to provide assistance”.

The ship then headed for Sicily as the odds were better and the weather was getting worse, Isler told German news agency dpa.

Hundreds more seek to disembark

In addition to the Sea-Eye 4, the Ocean Viking, operated by the European humanitarian organization SOS Méditerranée, is said to have 314 migrants on board.

The ship is seeking a port, bringing the number of migrants seeking to dock in Italy this week to more than 1,100.

Italy is one of the main entry points into Europe for migrants from North Africa, especially Libya and Tunisia.

Nearly 55,000 migrants have landed in Italy this year, up from just under 30,000 last year, according to figures from the Italian Interior Ministry.

mvb / rs (dpa, AFP)

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