Maritime authorities in Italy have permitted the NGO SOS Mediterranee Ocean Viking to dock in Sicily.
Italian maritime authorities have agreed to let the rescue vessel, Ocean Viking, disembark 572 rescued migrants at the port of Augusta in Sicily after they had been living in crowded conditions at sea for more than a week.
The 2,600-dwt, Norwegian-registered tug set out from Marseille, France on 27th June on a mission to rescue people trying to flee violence and unrest in Libya.
Between 1st July and 4th July, the vessel was able to rescue 572 people, including 183 children, in six separate rescue operations in the central Mediterranean.
On 4th and gain on 5th July the NGO requested a Place of Safety for the people aboard the Ocean Viking, but received no direction from authorities.
The situation onboard the Ocean Viking is worsening by the hour,” SOS Mediterranee reported on July 8. “There is no time for discussions behind closed doors. A solution must be found immediately, and a Place of Safety designated for the 572 survivors onboard.”
Upon hearing that permission to land had finally been granted, the NGO Tweeted, saying: “It’s an immense relief to know that their plight at sea is almost over and that the six rescues will finally be completed soon.
SOS Mediterranee has rescued more than 31,000 people from the central Mediterranean since it began operations in 2016.