The Italian authorities on Monday allowed the Spanish humanitarian ship Open Arms to dock in Porto Empedocle in Sicily to disembark the 265 sub-Saharan migrants who were rescued in the Mediterranean Sea a few days ago.
Italy Authorizes Open Arms To Disembark 150 Migrants in Palermo
Among those saved are 63 minors, six babies under three years of age, and 14 women, one of whom is in the ninth month of pregnancy.
Doctors from the Office of Maritime Health (USMAF) traveled to the humanitarian vessel to subject all migrants to rapid COVID-19 detection tests.
Afterward, the minors on board will be taken to the port and those who are not infected with the new coronavirus will be transferred to a reception center in Agrigento, where they will spend the mandatory quarantine period.
The migrants were rescued on December 31 and January 2 in rescue operations that were complicated by bad weather on the high seas. Most of them are from Eritrea and set sail from Libya in makeshift boats that nearly killed them from hypothermia.
International Organization for Migration (IOM) spokesperson Safa Msehli said that another 160 migrants trying to reach European territory were intercepted and returned to Libya in recent days.
In 2020, over 34,000 migrants arrived in Italy, a country that has asked the European Union to design a joint plan to manage migratory flows in the Central Mediterranean.