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UN urges EU nations to let 2 rescue ships disembark 500 stranded migrants

UN urges EU nations to let 2 rescue ships disembark 500 stranded migrants

The UN refugee agency urgently appealed to European governments on Tuesday to let two migrant rescue ships disembark more than 500 passengers who remain stranded at sea.

The people rescued while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa are on ships chartered by humanitarian aid groups. The Italian government has banned them from its territory, and  Malta has refused to let the ships into the country’s ports, AP said.

Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR special envoy for the Central Mediterranean, said in a statement that “storms are coming, and conditions are only going to get worse.”

About 150 of the rescued passengers have been on the Spanish-flagged charity ship, the Open Arms, since they were plucked from the Mediterranean 13 days ago. The limbo of the Open Arms and a Norwegian-flagged ship operated by Doctors Without Borders and sea rescue group SOS Mediterranee is the latest in a string of standoffs.