572 people on MSF migrant boat after Med rescues

Rome, Oct 29 (EFE).- A vessel run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has 572 migrants on board after a series of rescues in the Mediterranean Sea, the organization said Saturday, at a time when Italy’s government signaled it would restart its policy of prohibiting foreign NGO boats from disembarking migrants at Italian ports.

“Last night, in complete darkness, our team rescued 119 people — including 7 minors — from a wooden boat,” MSF Sea said in a tweet. “Everyone is now safe on board of #GeoBarents and receiving much needed care by the #MSF team.”

Two other migrant rescue vessels, the Ocean Viking, run by SOS Méditerranée, and the Humanity 1, operated by SOS Humanity, have 234 and 197 people on board respectively.

Italy’s deputy prime minister and infrastructure minister, the right-wing Matteo Salvini, on Thursday said he would reapply a policy of closing Italy’s ports to foreign NGO boats, as he previously did as interior minister between 2018-19.

“Message for human traffickers and their accomplices: as per the electoral program of the center-right, Italy will no longer tolerate the business of illegal immigration and out of control landings. Foreign NGOs should act accordingly,” the politician tweeted alongside an image of the Ocean Viking and Humanity 1.

So far this year, 82,384 migrants have arrived at Italian ports, nearly 30,000 more than the same period the previous year, according to data from the Italian interior ministry. EFE


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