Italy allows African migrants from Spanish rescue ship to disembark
ITALIAN authorities have agreed to grant the Open Arms ship access to enable 62 African migrants on board to disembark
ITALIAN authorities have agreed to grant the Open Arms ship access to enable 62 African migrants on board to disembark.
Founder of the Spanish rescue mission Oscar Camps said the vessel was set to dock at the southern Italian port of Taranto on November 26, although the eventual destination may change, reported Reuters.
Italy initially refused entry for the group of 73 African migrants which the Open Arms crew rescued from a packed rubber dinghy drifting 50 miles off Libya.
The coastguard has already evacuated 11 of the group, who required medical attention, to the port of Augusta and Italy's Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese signalled the country might be softening its stance.
Conditions aboard the vessel have been deteriorating as a powerful storm hit the Mediterranean, creating waves of up to three metres. A Reuters cameraman on the ship saw migrants huddled under a makeshift shelter on deck as the ship rolled through choppy waters and lightning flashed overhead.
Among the group of mostly central and west Africans are three women, two toddlers and 24 unaccompanied minors who braved the dangerous crossing in search of a better life in Europe.
The Italian government has taken a hard line against immigration and has previously resisted attempts by rescue ships to land migrants in its territory.
'We need decisive action from the Italian government and from Europe to stop human traffickers,' Lampedusa Mayor Salvatore Martello said from Barcelona, where he met his counterpart Ada Colau to discuss the migrant crisis.
There have been 1,000 confirmed deaths on the three main migration routes across the Mediterranean so far this year, according to the International Organization for Migration.