Italy to allow 113 refugees on ‘Ocean Viking’ ship to dock
Published: Dec 28, 2022 08:05 PM
Migrants who have not been able to disembark wave signs with the words

Migrants who have not been able to disembark wave signs with the words "HELP US" from the Nave Geo Barents, the search and rescue ship of Doctors Without Borders, in Catania, Italy on November 7, 2022. Photo: VCG

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 is run by SOS Mediterranee.

It was at the center of a standoff between France and Italy in November 2022, when Italy's new 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 a long period of time at sea, which also heightened tensions between the two countries.

On Tuesday, SOS Mediterranee said that the ship had been given permission to dock at the port of Ravenna in northeastern Italy.

Although it said that 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.

 The boat carried out its first rescue operation since docking in France as early as in November.

Among those who had been rescued were 23 women including some who were pregnant, according to the NGO.

Others include around 30 unaccompanied minors as well as three babies.

The youngest baby rescued is only 3 weeks old.

Every year many people fleeing Africa and the Middle East seek to enter Greece, Italy as well as Spain in hope of searching for better lives in countries within the European Union. 

The International Organization for Migration has recorded nearly 2,000 migrants who were dead or missing in the Mediterranean Sea alone in 2022.