Rescued migrants to disembark in Italy after 39 days at sea

Rome (AFP) –


Twenty-seven migrants stranded at sea for nearly 40 days on a Danish freighter got permission to disembark in Sicily on Saturday, a day after being transferred to an NGO vessel.

On August 4, the Maersk Etienne responded to requests from Maltese authorities to pick up the group, which includes a pregnant woman and a child, but the ship had been shut out of harbours.

On Friday, they were transferred to the ship Mare Jonio, which belongs to the Italian non-governmental organisation Mediterranea, which rescues migrants stranded at sea.

On Saturday evening, the Italian authorities "assigned Pozzallo as the port of disembarkation for 25 people still on board on the Mare Jonio," Mediterranea said.

"After 40 days, the nightmare of the (rescued migrants) on the Maersk Etienne is ending," it said.

On Sunday, three of the rescued people jumped overboard from the Maersk vessel before being recovered by the crew.

"At last", tweeted Danish Shipping (Danske Rederier), denouncing an absence of any political solution despite the ship rushing to the aid of the stranded migrants.

The UN had this week called for the urgent disembarkation of the migrants. The International Chamber of Shipping had meanwhile accused European nations of flouting international law.