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Italy allows ‘Ocean Viking’ boat carrying over 400 migrants to dock after days stranded at sea

Italy allows ‘Ocean Viking’ boat carrying over 400 migrants to dock after days stranded at sea

A charity ship carrying hundreds of people rescued in the Mediterranean said on Tuesday it had received permission to dock in Italy. Germany and France will take in some of the 403 migrants aboard the ‘Ocean Viking’ ship, run by the French NGO SOS Mediterranee, with Ireland and Luxembourg also expected to offer help, Reuters reported, citing an Italian Interior Ministry source.

SOS Mediterranee said it had been told to take those rescued, including 38 women and 149 minors, to Taranto in the heel of Italy. Two more rescue ships carrying some 230 people were also waiting to be assigned a safe port either in Italy or Malta.

Matteo Salvini, the head of the League party, condemned the decision to let the ‘Ocean Viking’ come to Italy. “The number of [migrant] arrivals has risen 500 percent in January 2020,” he tweeted.

The Interior Ministry says some 870 boat migrants have come to Italy this month, after 155 in the same period last year. This does not include those on the ‘Ocean Viking’.