After 40 days stand-off, migrants stranded at sea land in Italy
.........Stand-Off Europe's longest, most shameful - Mediterranea
By Our Reporter
September 13, 2020 (NAN) A group of migrants have finally been allowed to dock in Sicily, Italy, after 40 days stranded at sea with fate hanging as European nations banter over who will take them in,
The migrants who had been blocked aboard a tanker in the Mediterranean for more than a month were allowed to land on Saturday after Italy agreed to take them in, NGO Mediterranea said.
The 25 people still at sea disembarked late on Saturday in the port town of Pozzallo, in Sicily, in southern Italy, due to health reasons, ending a “nightmare.
“The longest and most shameful stand-off of European maritime history ends,” Mediterranea tweeted after the landing.
The migrants had been transferred on Friday to the Italian charity ship Mare Jonio, operated by Mediterranea, after being anchored off the coast of Malta on the Maersk Etienne - operated by Maersk Tankers - since August.
The people aboard were “in serious psycho-physical conditions that make it impossible for them to stay on the petrol tanker”, Mediterranea said after the transfer.
The Maersk Etienne’s crew had rescued the migrants, including a pregnant woman, on Aug. 4 near Malta from a wooden dinghy that had been at sea for days and sank immediately after the rescue operation.
Neither the Maltese, Italian nor Libyan authorities had let the migrants come ashore, according to Maersk Tankers, the operator of Maersk Etienne.
“This 40-day blockage is intolerable,” French NGO SOS Mediterranee said on Twitter, calling on countries of the European Union to provide a solution for almost 300 migrants aboard a ship operated by Spanish group Open Arms.