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Italy allows 2 more migrants to leave German rescue ship

Italy allows 2 more migrants to leave German rescue ship

Italy on Friday allowed two more migrants to disembark from a German Sea-Watch rescue boat carrying another 40 migrants off Lampedusa island, the NGO said.

"A medical evacuation just took place. One patient under serious pain and his brother were disembarked from #SeaWatch3," Sea-Watch tweeted.

"We cannot wait for every single person to become a medical emergency until Europe recognizes they have basic rights," Sea-Watch quoted the ship's captain, Carola Rackete, as saying.

On June 12, there were 53 migrants on board who had been rescued off the coast of Libya.

Italy has already taken in several vulnerable people on medical or humanitarian grounds, but it has refused to take in the others.

Italy hopes to pass migrants to other EU states

Tensions between Sea-Watch 3 and the Italian authorities escalated on Wednesday after the vessel entered Italian waters despite the threat of substantial fines from far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

Salvini has said the migrants can only leave the boat if they head straight to the Netherlands, where the Sea-Watch 3 is registered, or to Germany.

Speaking on the sidelines of the G20 summit in the Japanese city of Osaka, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said he had "news that three to four countries would be available" for the redistribution of migrants, without specifying which nations.

On Thursday, EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said Brussels was "closely involved in coordinating with the member states to find a solution for relocating the migrants on board Sea-Watch 3 once they are disembarked."

A group of five Italian left-wing MPs spent the night on board the ship in a gesture of solidarity.

"We'll remain on board until all of the migrants have disembarked," said Graziano Delrio, who was the minister in charge of the Italian coast guard between 2015 and 2018.

law/msh (AFP, AP)

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Updated : 2021-07-24 22:24 GMT+08:00