ABOARD THE OCEAN VIKING — A ship carrying 182 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean Sea said Sunday that Italy has granted permission for its passengers to disembark in Sicily.
Italy’s decision to take in the Ocean Viking comes ahead of a meeting in Malta on Monday that will be attended by French, German, and Italian authorities. The officials will attempt to make a temporary deal to manage the standoffs that have in the past year kept migrants rescued by NGO ships stuck at sea for days and even weeks.
The Norwegian-flagged Ocean Viking, a search-and-rescue vessel jointly operated by SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders, picked up 217 people from four boats in the central Mediterranean from Sept. 17 to Sept. 19. The migrants had all departed from Libya.
Malta, a European Union member, on Friday allowed in 35 migrants but rejected taking in the 182 remaining on the rescue ship. Italy had also referred the ship’s request to other European nations before announcing Sunday evening that it could head to the port of Messina.
The ship should arrive in the Sicilian port on Tuesday morning to disembark those who were rescued. They are mostly sub-Saharan Africans and include a newborn baby and 13 other children under the age of 15.