For 21 days full of tension and uncertainty, the SOS Méditerranée ship waited for permission to dock in a European port. The rescue ship headed for France after the Italian authorities did not allow it to disembark on their territory. Upon arrival in France, however, President Emmanuel Macron's administration did not initially grant it a docking clearance.
This morning, 50 migrants with health problems were already ashore, SOS Mediterranee director Sophie Beau announced, adding that they will be taken to a detention center for twenty days while their cases are studied.
"We are extremely relieved that a safe port in France has been assigned to our ship... But this solution has a bitter taste: the 230 women, children, and men have been through a dire ordeal and are exhausted," SOS Mediterranee director of operations Xavier Lauth said.
The tweet reads, "Above all, listen to the testimony of the young Moussoni, whom we followed over time after his rescue by the Ocean Viking: 'You have to live in the body of a migrant to know what is happening to us in our lives. It's not our choice'."
"Disembarking almost three weeks after their rescue, so far from the area of operation in the central Mediterranean, is the result of a dramatic failure from all the European states, which have violated maritime law in an unprecedented manner,” he added.
Evence Richar, a delegate from the government of the Var department, explained that those migrants who have the right to apply for asylum by fast track will be able to do so.
Nevertheless, Immigration director Eric Jalon clarified that France will initiate a process to extradite migrants to their countries of origin in the cases of those who do not have the right to request asylum or who may represent a security risk.
The migrant rescue ship Ocean Viking is heading to dock on the French coast after 19 days at sea and a ban on docking in Italy. pic.twitter.com/LJBx5H1Kru