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© Reuters. Migrants sit onboard “Ocean Viking” ship as they wait to disembark, in Augusta, Sicily, Italy July 9, 2021. Claire Juchat/SOS MEDITERRANEE/Handout by way of REUTERS


ROME (Reuters) – Hundreds of migrants rescued within the central Mediterranean disembarked on Friday within the southern Italian city of Augusta, in Sicily, after Rome-based maritime authorities agreed to present their ship a port.

The Ocean Viking vessel, operated by SOS Mediterranee, carried 572 individuals, together with round 180 minors, after choosing them up in six separate operations in Maltese and Libyan search and rescue areas, the European NGO mentioned.

After asking the European Union to discover a protected port for the migrants, the group mentioned the state of affairs onboard was deteriorating as a result of pressure and exhaustion amongst these rescued.

“This news brings us relief and gives these people irrepressible joy,” mentioned Carlotta Sami, spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee company UNHCR, referring to the Ocean Viking with the ability to dock.

SOS Mediterranee mentioned all migrants can be examined for COVID-19 after disembarking the boat.

Migrant boat departures from North Africa in the direction of Europe have picked up in 2021 after a decline in the previous couple of years and scores of individuals have died in latest weeks following shipwrecks as they tried to achieve Italy.

Some 22,900 migrants have arrived in Italy for the reason that starting of the yr – lots of them fleeing battle and poverty in Africa and the Middle East – in contrast with virtually 7,700 in the identical interval final yr, Interior Ministry information reveals.

Several charity boats have been impounded in Italy in latest months after officers reported irregularities onboard.

Charity group MSF complained Italian authorities had been utilizing such inspections to forestall ships from returning to sea the place many migrants die.

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