BRUSSELS (AFP): Almost 1,500 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean while trying to reach Europe were waiting to disembark on Thursday, NGOs said.
There were 659 people on board the Doctors Without Borders NGO’s ship Geo Barents, 387 aboard SOS Mediterranee’s Ocean Viking, and 438 on Sea-Watch’s boat SeaWatch3.
Sea-Watch said Italian authorities had allowed its ship to reach the southern port city of Taranto.
The organisation said on Twitter: “Relief on the one hand, disenchantment on the other, because the way there takes almost two days. More unnecessary hours that the people on board have to endure in the heat.”
Thousands of migrants have arrived on the Italian islands of Lampedusa and Sicily in recent weeks, often making the dangerous journey in makeshift boats or damaged fishing vessels.
Many are rescued at sea by NGOs or the Italian coastguard.
So far this year, 38,778 migrants have arrived in Italy by sea, compared with 27,771 over the same period in 2021 and 12,999 in 2020, according to the country’s interior ministry.