General

Italy allows 2 migrant ships to disembark

Italy gave the authorization to disembark to two nongovernmental rescue ships Friday that were waiting in the Mediterranean Sea with more than 500 irregular migrants, according to media reports.

French-based medical charity, Doctors Without Borders, wrote on Twitter that the Geo Barents ship with 248 migrants has been allowed to dock at the Salerno port in southern Italy.

Italian news agency, ANSA, reported that the port of Bari has been assigned to the German NGO Sea Watch 4 operated migrant rescue ship Humanity 1 with 261 migrants.

Italian authorities allocated the island of Lampedusa as a safe harbor for 33 migrants rescued by German-based NGO Louise Michel's boat of the same name earlier Friday.

Italy has Implemented a "closed port" policy for NGO ships in recent weeks but allowed 542 migrants on three ships to its ports in a single day.

The right-wing coalition government led by Giorgia Meloni, who took office in October, started to implement the "closed port" policy last month to prevent NGO ships from docking in Italy.

Relations between Italy and France have been strained because of the policy. France criticized Italy's refusal to open its ports to NGO ships.

Irregular migration problem in the Mediterranean

The region of the Mediterranean between Italy, Malta and Libya has come to the forefront in recent years as an irregular migration route frequently used in the transition from Africa to Europe.

During autumn and winter months when sea and weather conditions are good, migration on the route intensifies.

Instead of European states, European-origin NGOs rescue irregular migrants who call for help at sea.

The first place where migrants, who can cross the Mediterranean or are rescued, set foot in Europe is Lampedusa Island, the closest Italian land to northern Africa.

Source: Anadolu Agency